The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has today, Monday 19 June 2017, published its Annual Review of Policing for 2016/17.
The SPA’s assessment of the period is that Police Scotland has met its objectives and continued to deliver a service to a high quality and consistency across the country.
While improvements in policing are recognised, the review acknowledges the challenges Police Scotland faces from changing demands, evolving threats, and the role policing plays in addressing vulnerability.
The review also recognises the commitment of the entire policing workforce to the continued delivery of a high quality policing service to Scotland’s communities.
Evidence gathered for the assessment period also demonstrates:
- Crime is reducing in most categories.
- The majority of crimes are being detected.
- Local policing is continuously improving, with feedback from local authority scrutiny bodies that community interests are listened to and taken into account in the planning and delivery of policing services.
- New national capacity and capability that would not have been realised under legacy force arrangements, enabling communities to benefit from more routine deployment of national resources to meet regional and local needs.
- Some progress by Police Scotland to address rises in violent and sexual crimes and the under-reporting of crimes by encouraging victims of crimes to report all incidents to police.
The review also assesses the SPA’s performance in carrying out its functions, including the provision of Forensic Services to policing and concludes that despite increasing demands, a responsive and flexible service was provided in support of operational policing and significant advances in science and the extensions to scope as part of the SPA Forensic Services’ externally accredited quality management system have also been progressed.
Oversight of policing has also been strengthened over the period by the SPA Board which has enhanced its skills and experience in key areas such as finance, audit and ICT and reinforced its grip of the police budget and oversight of key change programmes like call handling. The review acknowledges further work is required to better clarify the SPA’s role and impact.
Speaking about the SPA’s 2016/17 Annual Review of Policing, Andrew Flanagan, Chair of the SPA said:
“SPA has assessed that Police Scotland met its annual objectives and continued to deliver a service to a high quality and consistency.
“A strong continuing performance in solving crimes should not mask the expanding territory across which the service requires to tackle offending. The concept of the blue line protecting the law abiding from the law breaking now stretches far beyond the streets to the private spaces of our homes and the often darker recesses of the online world.
“We are also not yet fully capturing the vital and often life-changing role our staff play in addressing vulnerability in our society.
“Addressing both those factors requires new strategies, new capabilities, and new skills and roles.
“The Policing 2026 programme has provided unprecedented insight into what we do now, what we will require to do in the future, and how to move from one to the other. The strategy aims to ensure that policing is organised, skilled and flexible enough to respond to wider societal needs and sophisticated threats.
“SPA’s assessment is that we have good foundations for progressing to the next crucial phase of true service transformation, and greater confidence in policing’s direction and our collective ability to reach that destination than we could have stated 12 months ago."
Responding, Police Scotland’s Chief Constable, Phil Gormley said:
“The SPA’s Annual Review highlights the positive progress that continues to be made in delivering the aims of police reform and delivering a national service at a local level. I firmly believe communities are at the heart of policing and it is essential we continue to put local communities first in our planning and delivery. We must draw upon specialist resources, where and when required and not determined by geographic boundaries, to best support locally-distinct policing. Local scrutiny mechanisms by which we are held to account for delivery of all these services continue to strengthen with maturity. I am delighted to see evidence of this progress in the last year and look forward to building on these successes in the coming year.”
The purpose of the review is to give the Scottish Government and other stakeholders an assessment of progress policing has made against objectives and priorities set and a statement on the direction for the next year of operation.
The review also assesses SPA’s performance in carrying out its functions.
The publication of the review meets the SPA’s statutory obligation as set out in The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 which states that the SPA must prepare an annual report as soon as practicable after the end of each reporting year. The Annual Review for 2016/17 is available to view from the links below in English or Gaelic.
Annual Review of Policing for 2016/17.
Annual Review of Policing fo 2016/17 - Gaelic Version.
The SPA’s formal Annual Report and Accounts for 2016/17 is a separate, but complementary document and this will be published later in 2017.