Giving communities more say on policing priorities

A conference to improve the scrutiny of local policing and look at ways of ensuring people have an increased say in their communities has been announced by the Justice Secretary.

Michael Matheson unveiled the plans for a conference focusing on local scrutiny arrangements during a meeting of the Justice sub-Committee on policing which considered the success of police reform in Scotland.

The session highlighted the greater accountability in policing since the establishment of Police Scotland in 2013 both at a national level, through the Scottish Police Authority, and locally, from local partnership and scrutiny boards.

The summit announced today will build on the Partners In Scrutiny events held by the SPA and allow those involved in local scrutiny committees, including Conveners, elected members and local police commanders, the opportunity to share best practice in how communities can influence their work, as well as improving the consistency of approach right across Scotland.

Plans for the event will now be developed with Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland, CoSLA and the Improvement Service. It is expected to be held later this summer.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Local policing is at the very heart of Police Scotland and it is absolutely right that communities have their say in ensuring local police are concentrating on the priorities that are right for them.

“The move to a single service was only the beginning of the reform journey and building on our success to date is something that the police, SPA and the Scottish Government are firmly focused on.

“This summit is an excellent opportunity to put this commitment into practice and develop and improve the scrutiny arrangements of the police at a local level, which we know are already stronger than they were before reform.

“Alongside that though, and equally important, is the opportunity that this event will provide to make sure local boards are supporting the work of the police and helping to support and encourage them as they target the concerns and priorities of the communities they serve.

“My officials will now take forward planning the summit and I look forward to being fully involved in the event later this year.”