This inspection, which forms part of our published scrutiny programme, is the second in our Local Policing+ inspection programme. It follows our first local policing inspection of Ayrshire Division and our pilot inspection in Fife. This inspection aims to assess the state, effectiveness and efficiency of local policing in Aberdeen City Division.
Effective local policing is fundamental to the success of Scottish policing. It is the part of policing that interacts with the public on a daily basis and is essential in building good relations with persons, localities and communities in Scotland. Strong local relationships strengthen the legitimacy of Police Scotland to carry out its function and support communities to improve their safety and well-being. Effective local scrutiny and engagement are also essential to the success of policing, through the identification and agreement of local priorities and holding the local commander to account for their delivery.
Localism was reflected in the three objectives of police reform: (i) to protect and improve local services; (ii) to create more equal access to specialist support and national capacity; and (iii) to strengthen the connection between police services and communities. We have therefore taken the opportunity during this inspection to comment on the extent to which these reform objectives are being achieved.
Supplementing this approach is the + element of our programme. This provides us the opportunity to conduct an in-depth examination of specific themes or subjects through the lens of local policing and comment on their state, efficiency and effectiveness, both locally and nationally. During our inspection of Aberdeen City Division, we examined Police Scotland’s arrangements for the management of adults, children and young people who are reported missing. Our report on missing persons will be published separately.
During our inspections of each local policing division in Scotland, we intend to take the opportunity to inspect police custody facilities located in that division. Our local policing inspection of Aberdeen is the first in which we have done so and a report of our inspection is published separately. These regular inspections of custody follow on from our thematic inspection of police custody arrangements in Scotland, published in 2014, and contribute to the United Kingdom’s response to its international obligations under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
In response to our inspection, Police Scotland will be asked to create an action plan so that our recommendations are addressed and that good practice is disseminated across Scotland to promote continuous improvement. We will monitor progress against this plan and publish our findings as part of our annual reporting process.
We carried out our inspection between November 2014 and March 2015. We sought evidence from a range of sources including surveys of stakeholders and councillors involved in local scrutiny of policing; a review of data, strategies, policies and procedures; observation of community council meetings and of divisional processes and meetings, including those done in partnership with other agencies; and more than 40 interviews and focus groups with police officers and staff, elected officials and partners. The performance data cited in this report was the data available at the time of our inspection, but it should be noted that performance may have fluctuated since our inspection took place.