Local solutions for local problems and allowing area commanders to address the needs of the communities they serve are some of the key findings of an inspection of Police Scotland’s Greater Glasgow Division.
In a report published today (21 March 2019) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS), the division’s commitment to partnership working and willingness to embrace change are highlighted.
HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Gill Imery QPM, said: “Our inspection found many positive aspects to policing in Greater Glasgow Division. In particular, the senior management team has empowered area commanders to take ownership of their areas, which has enabled them to have a grasp and understanding of local needs.
“Enthusiasm for and willingness to change is apparent as is strong partnership working. It is the largest division in Scotland in terms of officer numbers and volume of crime and we found evidence of significant pressure on uniformed frontline officers and staff, as well as those working in public protection roles. In addition, there are a number of issues which are proving testing for the division.”
Reported sexual crime is on the increase, resulting in heavy workloads for the specialist officers and staff who investigate them. Greater Glasgow also has the highest recorded numbers in Scotland of serious assaults and people who carry offensive weapons, with the lowest detection rates.
Mrs Imery said: “Steps are being taken to address these. However it is clear there are challenges in relation to a number of conventional crime types such as violence and the newer crimes of cyber and human trafficking.”
HMICS found the division is well managed with good structures in place and officers and staff who are motivated and committed to serving their communities. Frontline staff report feeling disillusioned, under pressure and under-valued with competing demands for their time and lack of clarity of their roles. Demand analysis is urgently required so that policing resources can be effectively deployed, the report states.
During the inspection, HMICS noted that uncertainty over the implications of the introduction of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) has led to a significant reduction in the number of referrals to support agencies by police.
HMICS recommended that Police Scotland provide clarity for officers in relation to victim referrals and expectations of those attending calls relating to vulnerability, including mental health and medical calls.
The service has also been urged to simplify and review the number of plans produced so the content and priorities are better understood by officers and staff and make sure that changes to policy and structures are discussed prior to implementation.
The report contains 11 recommendations for Police Scotland and Greater Glasgow Division. Police Scotland will be asked to create an action plan to address the recommendations, some of which relate to policing across Scotland, and progress will be monitored by HMICS.
Two additional reports – an inspection of all custody centres within the division and a review of the way Police Scotland resources events – will be published separately.