HMICS Assurance Review of Police Scotland Contact Assessment Model

31 August 2022

The aim of this review was to assess how effectively the Contact Assessment Model (CAM) is delivering against the strategic benefits identified by Police Scotland in the initial business case.

This assurance review focuses on the operational impact of CAM and identifies areas for improvement as the service continues to progress with modernising contact and engagement.

Call handling is the primary means for the public and partner organisations to engage with Police Scotland and is a critically important aspect of policing. No other operational area of policing has received such sustained levels of scrutiny from HMICS, with five reports published since 2015 containing 38 recommendations.

During this time, Police Scotland has made considerable progress in the area of contact, command and control. The findings of this review are positive and endorse the concept and ambition of CAM.

HMICS found there has been a significant change to the manner in which Police Scotland responds to calls from the public and partner agencies, moving from a model based on policy driven responses to an individual assessment of threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability and engagement for each caller.

The potential benefits CAM hoped to deliver were adversely affected by the pandemic. This review contains eight recommendations and identifies areas for improvement. It will assist Police Scotland as it looks to build on what has been accomplished by CAM and to provide a wider range of options for members of the public and partner organisations to contact and engage with the service.

This assurance review was one of the first in which HMICS introduced a self-evaluation process before the inspection team embarked on fieldwork. This new approach encourages continuous improvement and has been of benefit in ensuring inspection activity adds value.




Police Scotland should demonstrate that the management of Local Policing Appointments ensures the public receives a consistent level of service across Scotland.


Police Scotland should broaden the training and support provided to service advisors, by including inputs from specialists, to enable them to better consider investigative opportunities, vulnerabilities and engagement within their THRIVE assessments.


Police Scotland and the SPA should capture the failure demand rate through the C3 and force performance framework and outcomes, to ensure the quality of service delivered to the public through CAM is monitored.


Police Scotland should review the working practices and training within the Resolution Teams, particularly in relation to direct crime recording, to provide a more victim-orientated approach and to reduce the number of crime reports being returned to Local Policing Divisions or to other areas for completion.


Police Scotland should take steps to ensure staff within Area Control Rooms, Service Centres and Resolution Teams are diverting incidents to partner agencies, whenever that agency is better placed to deal with the incident.


Police Scotland and the SPA should progress the engagement with Scottish Government and other strategic partners to ensure service users are being supported by the most appropriate agency.


Police Scotland must improve the resilience and capability of its core police ICT systems to ensure C3 Division staff have efficient access to the information required to perform their roles.


The SPA and Police Scotland should put in place measures to monitor progress against the areas for development outlined in this assurance review.

Publication type: 
Inspection report