Policing in Tayside is increasingly focused on providing local solutions for local problems, an approach likely to achieve more positive outcomes for its communities, says a report published today (16 November 2017).
In the review, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland highlights many of the areas of progress in Tayside Division of Police Scotland and makes five recommendations which will promote ongoing improvement.
A recently introduced local policing model has been well received by officers, staff and stakeholders of the Division, notes the report, and a wide-ranging improvement plan has been developed.
HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Derek Penman, said: “Overall, we found much to be positive about in Tayside. Officers and staff report feeling more empowered by the increased focus on localism and partner organisations say they have good working relationships with the Division.
“There is more work to be done by the Division and Police Scotland to ensure they understand their demand and distribute resources accordingly.
“However, if the Division sustains its current approach and its focus on improvement, then positive results should be achieved for communities, officers and staff.”
Mr Penman pointed out that since improvement work is at such an early stage, evaluation should be undertaken to show that outcomes are being delivered. As the improvement plan develops and includes issues arising from the Division’s self assessment exercise, information should be shared to show the work being done.
Three recommendations for the local commander relate to the relationship between local and national intelligence requirements, defining the role of community police officers and adopting an evaluative approach for his initiatives.
Police Scotland and the local commander are recommended to review the availability of national, regional and local specialist teams out of hours while Police Scotland is encouraged to develop a strategy for special constables and other volunteers.
The inspection team found there was effective and visible leadership in the Division and personnel felt more listened to and able to share ideas and provide feedback.
“They told us they felt more empowered than previously. This is a significant positive development which may stem in part from the increased focus on localism at a national level. This renewed autonomy for local officers has already been noted and welcomed by some stakeholders,” said Mr Penman.
It was also noted that, in contrast to some previous inspections, there was no evidence of a focus on performance targets and that Police Scotland is developing a new framework for measuring performance.
The data for this report, which was compiled earlier this year, shows there were nearly four percent fewer crimes involving victims than in the previous year and the rate of crime per 10,000 population remains below that of Scotland. However, as is mirrored across the country, there has been an increase in violent crime.
Detection rates are also higher than across Scotland as a whole, despite having fallen in the Division.
Police Scotland will be asked to create an action plan to address the recommendations and ensure that effective practice is shared across the organisation to promote continuous improvement.
The inspection by HMICS is the latest in the rolling programme under which all 13 local policing divisions of Police Scotland will be inspected to assess their state, effectiveness and efficiency.
It took a different approach from previous inspections of local policing and focused on examples of good work, areas for improvement, emerging issues and new developments within Police Scotland.