Office sharing offers new way to deliver policing - Sean Scott

It is no secret that policing across Scotland continues to face unprecedented challenges in the wake of continued levels of high demand and ever-tightening public sector budgets. Edinburgh, of course, is not immune to these challenges.
Chief Superintendent Sean ScottChief Superintendent Sean Scott
Chief Superintendent Sean Scott

Last week, Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingston QPM, presented Police Scotland’s budget for 2023-24 to the Scottish Police Authority and while our funding allocation was better than expected, it presents local policing divisions across the country with some difficult decisions to make.

When Police Scotland was first established ten years ago, we had a national police officer cadre of over 17,000 to fulfil our duty to keep the people of Scotland safe.

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However, various external and internal dynamics, including an increase in officers retiring, has resulted in an actual establishment of approximately 16,600, a figure now required to be made permanent due to budget pressures.

Consequently, we are redesigning our service delivery model, here in Edinburgh and across the country, to ensure we continue to prioritise protecting and responding to the most vulnerable within all of our communities.

I am acutely aware of the similar budgetary pressures on our key emergency service counterparts, the Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, as well as local authorities and the NHS. However, there is now a heightened imperative for us to work better together, to manage the highest levels of risk in the capital and to ensure demand is met and managed by the organisation most appropriate to the needs of the individual.

We are also continuing our discussions with relevant partners about opportunities to co-locate, because there are significant benefits to doing so. In Livingston, for example, police officers share a facility with colleagues from West Lothian Council and the Scottish Court and Tribunal Service, while in Alloa officers have recently relocated to a building that is shared with Clackmannanshire Council.

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Not only does a shared facility reduce financial overheads, it creates the opportunity for policing teams to collaborate and develop best practice with other agencies.

Despite these challenges and following extensive consultation, I was delighted to have my new three- year Local Police Plan for Edinburgh approved at the most recent council Policy and Sustainability Committee.

The five priority areas of Crime, Community Wellbeing, Reducing Drug Harm, Events and Road Safety will again provide my officers and staff with the focus they require to meet the needs of our diverse communities and Edinburgh’s unique profile as one of the safest capital cities in the world.

Alongside our key partners, I have great confidence in the quality of my officers and staff to maintain effective policing within the Capital, now and in the future.

Chief Superintendent Sean Scott, Divisional Commander for Edinburgh