HMICS Thematic Review of Police Scotland’s approach to the development and operational delivery of the Annual Police Plan (2018-19)

13 December 2018

The aim of this thematic inspection was to examine:

i.       how effective the arrangements are for establishing the national policing priorities as outlined in the annual police plan 2018-19

ii.      how effective the arrangements are, nationally and locally, for the operational delivery of the annual police plan 2018-19, including comment on the contribution the plan has towards improving the safety and wellbeing of   people, places and communities in Scotland

iii.      how effective the alignment of the annual police plan is with the current strategic police plan, ‘Policing 2026 – Serving a Changing Scotland.

The report is structured around these three aims to facilitate understanding of the planning and delivery processes related to policing in Scotland.

We received evidence from all Police Scotland divisions and examined four local policing and one national division specifically to assess their approaches. We also considered the pace and proposed direction of the development and implementation of a new strategic planning framework, analytical approach and performance management framework.




Police Scotland should review its approach to strategic assessment, balancing its use of performance information, intelligence and broader information sources, reflecting all functions of Police Scotland, and the wider demand which it faces, to ensure it is used to effectively support priority setting and planning.


Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority should develop a clear process for governance and engagement around strategic assessment and consideration of priorities as part of their statutory responsibilities in the planning process.


Police Scotland should introduce an approach that ensures there is a Strategic Intelligence Requirement aligned to all of the national policing priorities outlined in the annual police plan and have processes in place that measure the qualitative aspect of intelligence submitted against each national policing priority.


Police Scotland should establish a dedicated strategic tasking and co-ordinating forum to meet at least six monthly to review the strategic assessment and consider organisational, operational and workforce planning and priorities.


Police Scotland should review the approach of both the force Tasking and Delivery Board and the Multi-Agency Tasking and Delivery Board to ensure they are meeting the required level of tasking and co-ordination.


Police Scotland should develop transparent and consistent reporting of the deployment of specialist or national support resources from Specialist Crime Division and Operational Support Division.


Police Scotland should set out a Scottish policing model which provides the level of consistency and assurance required for a national force but maintains the level of empowerment of divisional commanders to localise their approaches.


Police Scotland should undertake an immediate review of its approach and delivery structure for analytical support with intelligence analysis aligned to specialist crime division and performance analysis aligned to the strategy function.


Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority should review the objectives set out in the Serving a Changing Scotland strategic police plan and consider bringing forward the review of the strategic police plan.


Police Scotland should move to a three year delivery plan cycle to directly underpin the SPA’s strategic police plan complemented by the publication of an annual control strategy style plan.


The Scottish Police Authority should clearly set out its expectations of public performance reporting for Police Scotland and assure itself that suitable internal governance, planning and performance arrangements are in place to support its delivery.


Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority should review their approach to the development of a new performance framework and consider the development of clearly defined outcomes with associated qualitative and quantitative performance measures.

Publication type: 
Inspection report