A ten-year strategy to ensure Police Scotland is equipped to tackle new and emerging threats has been published.
Policing 2026 includes a commitment to recruit more civilian cyber specialists to counter the threat posed by cyber-crime and calls for greater emphasis on addressing vulnerability and mental health issues.
As well as maintaining officer numbers for 2017-18, the strategy also proposes a workforce model that frees up officers from support work to increase the number available for frontline policing.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson welcomed the strategy in Scottish Parliament and said: “Policing 2026 is an ambitious strategy for the future that will help our hard-working police officers and staff provide the best service to the public. I am encouraged to see the commitment to new ways of tackling cyber-crime as well as a strong emphasis on dealing with issues related to vulnerability and mental health. I am also very pleased to see the Strategy’s commitment to building on Police Scotland’s already strong community relations.
“I welcome Police Scotland’s commitment to maintain officer numbers for the seventh year in a row. However, the Chief Constable has made clear that the shape of the workforce must be adapted to meet future demands and Policing 2026 aims to ensure the right skills mix to achieve that.
“The Chief Constable has assured me that operational policing capacity will be increased, and I have made it clear that officer recruitment should not be slowed until clear independent evidence is provided to both the public and the Parliament that this increase has been delivered. Officer numbers will remain well above the number we inherited in 2007.
“The Scottish Government has also protected Police Scotland’s resource budget for each year of this Parliament – delivering a £100 million boost by 2021 – and provided an enhanced £61 million reform budget for 2017-18 to support the transformational change outlined in Policing 2026.
“The Scottish Government, like the Parliament and public expects strong governance and accountability, so I am clear that the SPA and HMICS must work together to oversee the implementation of the strategy. This will include working hand-in-hand with their workforce - and its representatives to support and energise them to realise this change and continue to provide an excellent service across Scotland.”