This annual report from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) provides an update on how HMICS has carried out its statutory function for the period of 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 and follows from its previous Annual Report which was published on 13 December 2013.
The report highlights how HMICS has responded to the new policing landscape and has repositioned itself through its new Corporate Strategy 2014/17 to meet the challenges of a critical new scrutiny role.
In addition to reporting on our function and activities in the past year, I have taken the opportunity to offer my assessment on the overall state, effectiveness and efficiency of policing in Scotland and on the performance of Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, (SPA) during 2013/14.
My overall assessment is that the police reform process has been effective to date. This is reflected in the continuity of front line policing services from 1 April 2013, with minimal impact on the services provided to communities. Crime has continued to fall to the lowest levels in 40 years and my view is that Police Scotland is operationally effective and better placed to deal with major events than the legacy police forces it replaced. However, the creation of the new services was only the beginning of a major change programme and challenges remain in terms of the medium to long term sustainability. Financial challenges persist and although the savings targets were achieved for 2013/14, there is a need for both Police Scotland and the SPA to be clear about future structures and have transition plans that deliver sustainable savings.