HMICS Assurance review of Police Scotland demand analysis and management

29 June 2021

This review of Police Scotland’s demand analysis and management is intended to highlight the significant efforts the service has made to develop its understanding of demand, as well as identifying some areas for improvement. Demand data and analysis are vital for making informed plans for resources and budget, ultimately ensuring that resources are deployed to best meet the needs of the public.

The importance of articulating the wide and competing demands for policing has long been recognised, and featured in the work leading to the formation of the single national police service for Scotland in 2013. There have been various efforts made over the years to capture the demand for policing, and need for this information became more acute as pressure on budgets increased

The report contains 12 recommendations and identifies a number of areas for further development which will help Police Scotland to meet future financial and operational challenges.




Police Scotland should develop a demand framework and delivery plan as soon as possible to include the implementation of a structured engagement model to support the effective analysis and interpretation of demand information.


Police Scotland should integrate the development of the annual demand baseline product with the force strategic assessment to ensure a more strategic focus, consistency of approach and address areas where demand information is currently lacking.


Police Scotland should develop a cohesive approach to failure demand as part of a corporate continuous improvement and organisational learning framework.


Police Scotland should further build on the approach to capturing the standards, assumptions, caveats and quality issues around demand information (both source systems and data repository) and ensure increased transparency around these in designing and delivering analytical products.


Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority should, in line with a demand framework, review the operational leadership, governance and focus of their scrutiny processes around demand analysis and management.


Police Scotland should further strengthen its approach to strategy development to include consistent involvement of demand analysis and organisational design elements.


Police Scotland should set out a transparent process for the provision of organisational design support including how demand analysis is used to inform decision making concerning officer and staff numbers and calculate the demand and capacity imbalance at an organisational level.


Police Scotland should further develop its performance reporting framework to better integrate demand information and analysis and provide improved transparency at local level.


Police Scotland should further promote demand products, including direct input and support to divisional management teams, regarding their use and benefits, as well as setting out the role, responsibilities and authority of the Demand and Productivity Unit and Analysis and Performance Unit in providing support and guidance.


Police Scotland should ensure consistency and compatibility (not requiring mandatory compliance) in revised tasking and co-ordinating processes and the associated use of demand products across all local policing divisions.


The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland should commit to further development of the demand forecasting approach to support medium to longer term planning and decision-making.


Police Scotland, in its development of the Full Business Case for the Analysis and Performance Unit re-design needs to include proposals for further development of the demand approach and the Demand and Productivity Unit itself.

Publication type: 
Inspection report