Following a recent debate on Newsnight Scotland between those arguing for centralism vs localism, we have outlined the following elements that we believe should feature in the re-organisation of the Scottish Police Service, regardless of whether a 1, 2, 3 or 4 force structure is chosen.
1. Amalgamate where efficiencies of scale are possible and can be proven.
2. Encourage/enforce/incentivise a greater use of shared services between forces.
3. Ensure maximum devolution of operational decision making down to the Divisional level.
4. Realign, where necessary, Divisional boundaries with individual local authority areas or groups of areas where other public services, e.g. education and social work, are being shared across council boundaries.
5. Determine the appropriate level of local command for each divisional area, e.g. Asst. Chief Constable for each City, Chief Superintendant for the likes of Falkirk or West Lothian, or Inspector or Superintendant for each of the Islands areas.
6. Redefine the relationship between local commanders and their local authority partners, in the absence of Joint Boards, whilst recognising the critical importance of operational independence, and ensure the service fully tied into the Community Planning Partnerships wherever the boundaries of those sit.