Police Scotland

Police Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Poileas Alba; Scots: Polis Scotland) – legally named the Police Service of Scotland[4] – is the national police force of Scotland. It was formed in 2013 with the merger of eight regional police forces in Scotland, as well as the specialist services of the Scottish Police Services Authority, including the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. Although not formally absorbing it, the merger also resulted in the winding up of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.

Police Scotland is the second-largest police force in the United Kingdom (after the Metropolitan Police Service) in terms of officer numbers, and by far the largest territorial police force in terms of its geographic area of responsibility. The Chief Constable is answerable to the Scottish Police Authority, and the force is inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland.

Scotland is also policed by the Ministry of Defence Police, British Transport Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary within their respective jurisdictions. The National Crime Agency also has some jurisdiction in Scotland.

Police Scotland
Poileas Alba  (Scottish Gaelic)
Logo of Police Scotland
MottoSemper Vigilo[n 1]
Keeping People Safe
Agency overview
Formed1 April 2013
Preceding agency
VolunteersApprox 650 Special Constables
Annual budget£1.065 billion (2018/19)[1]
Legal personalityPolice force
Jurisdictional structure
National agencyScotland
Operations jurisdictionScotland
Map of Scotland Police area in the United Kingdom (no borders)
Police Scotland's jurisdiction
Size30,414 sq mi (78,772 km2)
Population5,404,700 (2016)
Governing bodyScottish Government
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by Police authorityScottish Police Authority
HeadquartersTulliallan Castle

Police Officers17,241 Full-time Officers
Approx 650 Special Constables
Others5,600 police staff
Cabinet Secretary responsible
Agency executive
AirbasesGlasgow City Heliport
Helicopters1 (1 reserve) (Eurocopter EC135)
Police Scotland


Prior to merger

After a consultation process,[5][6] the Scottish Government confirmed on 8 September 2011 that a single police service would be created in Scotland.[7] The Scottish Government stated that "reform will safeguard frontline policing in communities by creating designated local senior officers for every council area with a statutory duty to work with councils to shape local services. Establishing a single service aims to ensure more equal access to national and specialist services and expertise such as major investigation teams and firearms teams, whenever and wherever they are needed."[8] The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill was published in January 2012[9] and was approved on 27 June 2012 after scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament.[8] The Bill received Royal Assent as the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012. In September 2012, Chief Constable Stephen House of Strathclyde Police was announced as the future first Chief Constable of Police Scotland. He was sworn into the post on 1 October 2012.[10][11] The first chair of the Scottish Police Authority, Vic Emery (then the convener of the Scottish Police Services Authority), was appointed in August 2012.[12]

As the date of formation approached, it was widely reported that the new Chief Constable and the Scottish Police Authority were in disagreement over the control of backroom staff.[13]

In February 2013 it came to light that the previously announced logo for Police Scotland could not be used as the Force had failed to seek approval from the Court of the Lord Lyon.[14] This new symbol, a stylised thistle upon a Scottish saltire shield, failed to meet the longstanding heraldic rules of the Lyon Court and was thus discarded. A permanent logo was not approved in time for 1 April 2013 creation of Police Scotland, but the pre-2013 crowned thistle emblem was finally (re)introduced in July 2013. This emblem was originally designed for the former Dumfries Constabulary by Robert Dickie Cairns (1866–1944), an art teacher at Dumfries Academy.[15] With minor artistic variations, it was the same logo used by all regional Scottish police forces before 1 April 2013.[16]

Police Scotland officially came into being on 1 April 2013 under the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, merging the following law enforcement agencies:

Since merger

In June 2014, a leaked Police Scotland internal email to police managers in Dunfermline ordered a substantial increase in "stop and search" activities and warned any police officers not meeting the higher targets would be subjected to a performance development review. Police Scotland has previously denied setting stop and search performance targets for individual officers.[17] The next month, it was revealed that between April and December 2013, Police Scotland's officers stopped and searched members of the Scottish public at a rate of 979.6 per 10,000 people, a rate was three times higher than that of the Metropolitan Police and nine times higher than that of the New York Police Department. It was also revealed that the Scottish Police Authority, the body tasked with overseeing Police Scotland, had removed criticism of Police Scotland's use of "stop and search" powers from a report it had commissioned. Also removed from the report were calls for a review of stop and search on children and for clarification of the policy's primary aim.[18]

In October 2013, Police Scotland announced proposals to close 65 out of 215 police station public counters and reduce opening hours at others. Police Scotland cited a drop in the number of people visiting public counters and the development of new ways for the public to contact the police, including the 101 telephone number and contact points which connect callers at police stations directly to officers, as reasons for the proposed closures. The plans were condemned by some opposition MSPs.[19] In November 2016, it emerged that 58 further stations could close as part of an estates review.[20][21]

In 2014, the Scottish Crime Campus in Gartcosh was opened. This £73m secure facility houses several specialist investigative and analytical departments of the police including forensic services, and is also the base for other law enforcement-related agencies such as the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency.[22] Police Scotland was responsible for the security of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.[23]

In 2015, the former Strathclyde Police headquarters in Pitt Street, central Glasgow were closed and the officers based there transferred to a new £24million office in the Dalmarnock district of the city (although some operational functions, such as the control room for Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, moved to the regional communications facility in Govan).[24]

Control rooms

In October 2013, it was announced that the number of police control rooms and call handling service centres in Scotland was under review, with the possibility of seven out of ten such offices closing. Control rooms considered for closure included Dumfries, Aberdeen and Inverness;[25][26][27] the Dumfries control room closed in May 2014, with the workload absorbed by existing facilities in Glasgow and Motherwell.[28] The facilities in Glenrothes and Stirling soon followed, with all their calls and dispatching moved to a single site for the east of Scotland at Bilston, Midlothian.[29]

Closures in Aberdeen and Inverness (with control functionality moving to Dundee and call handling across the three sites in the Central Belt) were delayed until 2017[30] as a result of a HMICS review of the service, following a July 2015 incident in which two persons died after their vehicle had crashed off the M9 motorway;[31] the matter had been reported to the police just after the crash but was not investigated further at the time as the call was not properly logged onto the computer systems due to inefficient interim procedures in place following the recent restructuring in the eastern region.[32]

The Aberdeen control room and service centre closed in March 2017[33][34] and Inverness followed in February 2018[35] with staff at the latter location invited to re-train in a dedicated unit performing criminal record checks and other enquiries via the PNC and related databases;[35][36] this unit was to share work with an existing department in Govan, a proposal which local council leaders claimed was not what was originally presented to them during the consultation process.[27][37] That department was formally launched in May 2018.[38]


Executive Team

  • Chief Constable: Iain Livingstone[3]
  • Deputy Chief Constable (Professionalism): Fiona Taylor
  • Deputy Chief Constable (Local Policing): Will Kerr
  • Deputy Chief Constable (Crime and Operational Support): Johnny Gwynne
  • Deputy Chief Officer (Corporate Services, Strategy and Change): David Page
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Local Policing – East & Criminal Justice): Paul Anderson
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Local Policing – West): Bernard Higgins
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Local Policing – North): John Hawkins
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Specialist Crime & Intelligence): Steve Johnson
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Operational and Specialist Support): Mark Williams
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Strategy & Innovation): Malcolm Graham
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Crime and Public Protection): Gillian McDonald
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Professionalism and Assurance): Alan Speirs
  • Assistant Chief Constable (Operational Change and Resilience): Angela McLaren
  • Director of ICT: Martin Low (Interim Director following resignation of Martin Leven)
  • Director of People and Development: Jude Helliker[39][40][41][42][43]
  • Chief Financial Officer: James Gray

All force executive officers are currently based at Tulliallan Castle in Kincardine, Fife or Stirling Randolphfield. The Assistant Chief Constables' salary depends on their previous experience and would normally fall between £90,000 and £106,000 a year.[44] In 2014, Executive officers of the force were awarded a £10,000-a-year pay rise.[45]


Police Scotland uses the same rank structure and insignia as other police forces in the United Kingdom. The ranks of Constable, Sergeant and Inspector can be prefixed with the term "Police", which leads to the abbreviations of "PC", and, more rarely, "PS" and "PI". Normally, however, the "Police" is omitted as it is unnecessary, except for the abbreviations – especially PC. Detective officers of the ranks Constable to Chief Superintendent have their ranks prefixed with the term "Detective", e.g. Detective Constable (abbreviated "DC") and Detective Superintendent (abbreviated Det Supt).

Rank Common abbreviation Salary[46]
Chief Constable CC £214,404[3]
Deputy Chief Constable DCC £174,741
Assistant Chief Constable ACC £118,485
Chief Superintendent C/Supt £86,433-£91,179
Superintendent Supt £69,735-£82,368
Chief Inspector C/Insp £57,972-£60,354
Inspector Insp £52,374-£56,808
Sergeant Sgt £40,878-£45,942
Constable PC £26,037-£40,878

Local policing

Local policing in Scotland is overseen by a Deputy Chief Constable. The country is divided geographically into 3 regions – North, East and West, each headed by an Assistant Chief Constable. There are 13 Divisions, each covering one or more local authority areas and headed by a Chief Superintendent. All divisional commanders are "people who came up through the ranks in that part of the country".[47] Divisions are further split into Area Commands under Chief Inspectors. These are then managed by Ward mirroring the 353 Wards used in local authority elections; every ward in Scotland has its own local policing team (response) and problem solving team (community).[48]

Officer numbers

As of 25 March 2019[49][50]

West Command
Regional Resources 1,512 ACC Bernard Higgins
Argyll & West Dunbartonshire L Division 566 C/Supt John Paterson
Ayrshire U Division 826 C/Supt Mark Hargreaves
Dumfries & Galloway V Division 382 C/Supt (acting) Linda Jones
Greater Glasgow G Division 2,540 C/Supt Hazel Hendren
Lanarkshire Q Division 1,409 C/Supt Alan Waddell
Renfrewshire & Inverclyde K Division 628 C/Supt Alan Murray
Total 7,863
East Command
Regional Resources 982 ACC Paul Anderson
Edinburgh E Division 1,109 C/Supt Gareth Blair
Fife P Division 802 C/Supt Colin Gall
Forth Valley C Division 635 C/Supt Thom McLaughlin
Lothians & Scottish Borders J Division 919 C/Supt John McKenzie
Total 4,447
North Command
Regional Resources 662 ACC John Hawkins
Highland & Islands N Division 682 C/Supt George MacDonald
North East Division A Division 1,144 C/Supt Campbell Thomson
Tayside D Division 957 C/Supt Andrew Todd
Total 3,445
National Resources
Total 1,495
Total Resources (West, East and North Commands plus National)
Total 17,250
  • Examples of National Resources include:- Specialist Crime Division: National Intelligence Bureau, Homicide Governance and Review, Prison Intelligence Unit, Human Trafficking Unit, National Rape Investigation, National Rape Review, Fugitive Unit and Scottish Protected Persons Unit, International Unit, HOLMES, Safer Communities Citizen Focus, Preventions and Interventions, and Strategic Partnerships. Operational Support: Scottish Police Information and Coordination Centre, Intelligence, Specialist Operations Training, Air Support, Dive/Marine Unit, Football Co-ordination Unit, Mounted Unit, Mountain Rescue, Motorcycle Unit. Custody: Area Command, Support
  • Examples of Regional Resources include:- Specialist Crime Division: Major Investigation Teams, Forensic Gateways, E – Crime, Financial Investigations, Serious and Organised Crime Units, Counter Terrorism Units, Offender Management, Border Policing Command, Technical Support Unit and Interventions. Operational Support: Road Policing Units, Event and Emergency Planning, VIP Planning, Armed Policing Training, Road Policing Management & Policy, Armed Policing, Dogs, Trunk Roads Policing Group and Operational Support Units. Custody: Regional Custody Teams. Contact, Command and Control: Area Control Rooms and Service Centres
  • Local police officer resources are the core complement of officers under the direction of the Local Commander and include community policing, response policing and divisional road policing teams. Also included in the local resource figures are officers within the divisional Criminal Investigation Department and Public Protection Units.

Specialist Crime Division

The Specialist Crime Division (SCD) provides access to national investigative and intelligence resources for matters relating to major crime, organised crime, counter terrorism, intelligence, covert policing and public protection.[51] SCD comprises more than 2000 officers and targets individuals that pose the most significant threat to communities.[52]

Border Policing Command

Officers from Border Policing Command operate in the major airports in Scotland and undertake examinations and searches of passengers under the Terrorism Act 2000.[52]

Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit

Police Scotland has limited responsibilities when it comes down to counter terrorism, with the Metropolitan Police being the main force behind counter terrorism operations throughout the UK. However, the SCD does have counter-terrorism in its remit, and relies on daily support from several UK agencies, including MI5 and the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism at the Home Office.

Major Investigation Teams

Major Investigation Teams (MITs) are located throughout Scotland and are responsible for leading the investigation of all murder inquiries and large-scale and complex criminal investigations. Although each MIT will be responsible for investigating cases within its own area, where required they will be able to be deployed anywhere in the country to respond to need and demand.[53]

National Counter Corruption Unit

The National Counter Corruption Unit is the first of its kind in UK policing and works in partnership with the public sector to prevent corruption in publicly funded organisations. The unit also offers a specialist investigative capability. The unit is split into two teams, one focused internally within Police Scotland whilst a second team focuses on other publicly funded organisations.[54]

National Human Trafficking Unit

The existing Scottish Intelligence Coordination Unit and Strathclyde Police Vice and Trafficking Unit combined on 1 April 2013 to form the new National Human Trafficking Unit (NHTU).[51]

National Rape Taskforce

The investigation of rape and other sexual offences is a key priority for Police Scotland. National Rape Taskforce units are located in Glasgow and Aberdeen and work alongside Divisional Rape Investigation Units. They provide a national investigative capacity and a case review function.[53][54]

Prison Intelligence Unit

The Prison Intelligence Unit (PIU) provides an interface for the exchange of information and intelligence between Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service. The unit also develops and supports policy, procedure, planning, research, technology development, advice and communication between Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.[55]

Licensing and Violence Reduction Division

The Licensing and Violence Reduction Division (LVRD) contains a number of miscellaneous functions including the titular alcohol licensing and violence reduction teams.

One of the higher-profile units within the LVRD is the Domestic Abuse Task Force (DATF). The DATF has a presence in each of the command areas as DATF (West), DATF (East) and DATF (North). The DATF (North) is unique amongst the three in having sub-offices in N Division (Highlands and Islands), A Division (North-East) and D Division (Tayside). The DATF has national responsibility for pro-actively addressing domestic abuse. Its divisional equivalents are the Domestic Abuse Investigation Units.

Another unit within the division is the Force Flexible Policing Unit (FFPU, or "Flexi Teams" as they are known locally), based in all three command areas (North, East, West). This unit's primary function is to act upon specific geographical intelligence relating to spikes in crime trends (particularly involving violence, alcohol, antisocial behaviour or other high volume crime), and carrying out taskings in the form of high visibility patrols and public reassurance.

Operational Support Division

Roads Policing

Policing of Scotland's roads network is shared between 13 Divisional Road Policing Units (DRPUs) aligned with their respective Local Police Division which have the aim of achieving casualty reduction and wider operational objectives and a dedicated Trunk Road Patrol Group (TRPG) patrols the motorway and trunk road network. The TRPG operates from bases in Dalkeith and Stirling in the east, Glasgow, Irvine, Lockerbie and Motherwell in the west and Fort William, Inverness, Perth and Aberdeen in the north. There are roughly 500 road policing officers in Scotland, Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle is currently the head of roads policing.[51] The Collision Investigation unit sits within Road Policing division. Unlike many other forces, there is no dedicated Collision Investigation. Instead investigating serious and fatal RTCs lies with specially trained officers who carry out the role beside their core road patrol functions.

Operational Support Unit

Six operational support units (OSUs) have been established to provide specially skilled officers trained in over ground search, public order and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response. When not used in their specialist roles OSU officers are deployed in local communities focusing on issues as directed by demand. OSUs are based in Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee (North), Edinburgh and Alloa (East) and Glasgow (West). Across the force area the OSU comprises a total of 6 Inspectors, 18 Sergeants and 172 Constables.[56]

Armed Policing

Armed Policing provides Armed Response Vehicles (ARV), the Specialist Firearms Unit and Armed Policing Training.

Prior to the inception of Police Scotland, the routine tasking and visibility of ARV officers varied widely across Scotland with deployment models varying for matters such as if officers carried side arms with a standing authority or if they were secured in the vehicles. The operational functions and cover of the ARV's also varied including if they could be tasked for routine incidents and one legacy force did not have a regular ARV patrol.[57] Police Scotland introduced ARV patrols in all 13 local policing divisions in Scotland with 275 dedicated officers.[58][57][59][60] ARV officers carry a Taser, a Glock 17 handgun and a Heckler & Koch G36 carbine.[61][57] Former Chief Constable Sir Stephen House's founding policy decision was that ARV officers would be granted a standing authority to overtly carry their sidearm and, in addition, controversially allowed ARV's to be able to respond to routine incidents (non-firearms incidents) "to provide support to local policing through regular and tasked patrols".[57][58] This policy was made without proper consultation provoking both political and public debate.[57] In October 2014, the policy was changed so that an ARV can only be tasked to an incident involving firearms or a threat to life.[62][60]

The Specialist Firearms Unit (formerly the Tactical Firearms Unit), which was inherited from Strathclyde Police, consists of Specialist Firearms Officers (SFO) and Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers (CTSFO), who form part of the United Kingdom CTSFO Network, and are equipped with the SIG MCX carbine.[57][61][63]

In June 2016, it was announced there would be an additional 124 armed officers, of these, 90 officers would be dedicated to armed response vehicles and 34 would be trainers and specialist firearms officers, bringing the total number of armed officers to 365.[64][60][61]

Dog Branch

The Dog Branch comprises 75 police dog handlers located throughout Scotland. Training has been centralised at the National Dog Training Centre in Glasgow.[56]

Air Support Unit

The Air Support Unit is based at Glasgow City Heliport and consists of one helicopter, owned and operated by Bond Air Services under contract. A helicopter crew consists of one civilian pilot and two police officer observers. The Air Support Unit was inherited from Strathclyde Police, the only police force in Scotland to possess such a unit at amalgamation in April 2013.[65] The Police Scotland and Strathclyde Police Air Support Units have suffered a total of three hull-loss accidents involving their aircraft, two of which resulted in fatalities.

  • On 24 January 1990, a Bell 206 JetRanger G-EYEI, normally used by Radio Clyde and covering for unavailability of the police MBB Bo 105 (G-SPOL) helicopter crashed in Giffnock, Glasgow after suffering engine failure during a sudden, severe snow storm. The aircraft was not fitted with a "Snow Deflector Kit" and suffered from choking of the engine air intake, resulting in the engine failing. The aircraft hit a five-story building while attempting to land and crashed to the ground, causing the death of 32-year-old police observer Sergeant Malcolm Herd. The remaining three crew (two police officers and one pilot) survived the accident.[66]
  • On 19 February 2002, a Eurocopter EC135 T1 G-SPAU crashed in a field near Muirkirk in East Ayrshire while conducting a search for a possible missing child.[67] The crew, comprising two police officer observers and one pilot escaped serious injury, but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and scrapped. Accident investigators were unable to confirm a definitive cause for the accident, but issued two recommendations to improve safety.[67][68]
  • On 29 November 2013, Police Scotland's only helicopter (a Eurocopter EC135, registration G-SPAO), crashed into The Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow, killing ten people including all three crew.[69][70]

Police Scotland had access to a loan helicopter (also a Eurocopter EC135, registration G-CPSH, formerly of the Chiltern Air Support Unit) from the National Police Air Service. This was removed from service with the formation of NPAS, due to budget cuts.

Police Scotland received their own, new H135 (renamed EC135) in early 2017, registered G-POLS. The aircraft continues to be leased from Babcock, who also still provide pilots, maintenance and support.

Marine and Underwater Unit

Two full-time units skilled in both underwater search and marine capability are based in Greenock (1 Sergeant and 11 Constables) and Aberdeen (dive supervisor and four Constables). A number of non-dedicated divers are retained across the country to provide additional support.[56]

Mounted Branch

The mounted branches of Strathclyde Police and Lothian and Borders Police were merged prior to the formation of Police Scotland. The combined branch now provides mounted support throughout Scotland. The mounted branch is based in Stewarton, East Ayrshire and has a strength of 22 horses.[56]

Mountain Rescue

Police Scotland operate four mountain rescue teams.[51]

Special Constabulary

Special constables are unpaid volunteers who have the same police powers as their full-time counterparts when on or off duty. They must spend a minimum of 180 hours per year on duty. Although they are unpaid, a "Recognition Award Scheme" remodelled in 2016 awards a payment of £1100 to special constables who achieve this quota and have at least two years police service. There are currently 1,400 special constables throughout the force.

Special Constables undertake a new standardised comprehensive training program which normally runs over a course of at least six weeks with one week spent at Tulliallan Police College. When on duty, they wear the same uniform as their regular counterparts. There are no differences in their uniform. Special constables can be used in time of need, usually working alongside regular officers on community teams, response teams and in the Specialist Crime and Operational Support Divisions.

Chief Constables

From To Name Honours Notes
1 October 2012 30 November 2015 Sir Stephen House QPM
30 November 2015 5 January 2016 Neil Richardson OBE
Designated Deputy for Chief Constable
5 January 2016 8 September 2017[71] Phil Gormley QPM
8 September 2017[71] 27 August 2018[2] Iain Livingstone QPM Designated Deputy for Chief Constable
27 August 2018 Present Iain Livingstone QPM Interim Chief Constable prior to permanent appointment

Uniform and equipment

420 - Glasgow Green, Easter 2014 05 Police watching the crowd speaker.jpeg
Police in Glasgow wearing the current uniform.

Standard uniform consists of black wicking T-shirts with black trousers. Black micro fleeces are also issued along with high visibility water proof bomber jackets. Black and high visibility body armour covers with attachment points for items of equipment are also standard.

Lothian and Borders police car 03
Police Scotland Vauxhall Astra Estate in Edinburgh

Personal equipment consists of a police duty belt holding handcuffs, an expandable baton and PAVA spray. Equipment can be attached directly to the body armour or worn on a utility belt. Officers in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders divisions as well as Traffic officers d (G, E, J and T divisions respectively), officers are issued hand held computers which are known as a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) instead of a pocket notebook. All Police Scotland officers when on duty are issued with Motorola MTH800 radios for use with the Airwave network which is being replaced as part of the government's new network.


Police Scotland has a fleet of approximately 3,750 vehicles. Almost all of Police Scotland's high-visibility marked vehicles are marked up in a "half-Battenburg" style.

The most common marked patrol vehicles used by local policing response and community teams has been the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, and Peugeot 308, though vehicles used can vary around the country as they were inherited from separate forces; Ford Mondeos, Ford Transits, Ford Transit Connects, Vauxhall Vivaros, Volkswagen Transporters and Mercedes Vitos are also included in the local Policing and Problem solving teams. In September 2015 Peugeot won the contract to provide response vehicles,[72] after Ford had been awarded the first supply contract in January 2014.[73]

BMW currently hold the contract for supplying high performance vehicles required for various department needs, including Road Policing (RPU) and Armed Policing (ARV) - (SFU) which generally consist of both marked and unmarked 330, 530 and X5 models. There are also still a small number of various legacy force procured Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Land Rover and Audi models in use in various functions throughout the divisions. The Operational Support Unit primarily use the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the Iveco Daily as personnel carriers.

Crime Division officers tend to use semi-marked or unmarked hatchback and estate cars. Vauxhall Movano vans are also used, some acting as mobile offices. Some of these vehicles are modified for police use with radios, lights, sirens and a 'run lock' facility enabling officers to take the keys out of the ignition without stopping the engine running, thereby ensuring the battery is not depleted if the lights need to be left on for long periods of time.

Police 101

A national non-emergency phone number (101) was introduced on 21 February 2013, after having been successful in Wales and later England. When a caller dials 101, the system determines the caller's location and connects him or her to a call handler in the police service centre for the proper area.[74] The 101 non-emergency phone is intended for situations when an emergency response is not required, to reduce pressure on the 999 system.

Transport policing

There are also ongoing proposals backed by the Scottish Government for BTP's Scottish division (D Division) to be merged with Police Scotland. With the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish Parliament is now responsible for policing of railways in Scotland.[75] In August 2016, the Scottish Government announced that their programme for the coming year would include a Railway Policing Bill which would provide primary legislation for the full integration of the functions of British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland and initiated an extensive consultation on the matter.[76][77] However, the proposal has received criticism due to the potential impact that it would have on the BTP and the future of it in the rest of Britain as a force,[78] as too the continued specialist nature of railway policing should the merger go ahead. The merger became possible after the responsibility for policing of railways in Scotland was devolved following a recommendation by the Smith Commission and its later inclusion in draft legislation, with the UK Government stating "how rail transport is policed in Scotland will be a matter for Scotland once the legislation is passed". In 2017, the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill was passed and the bill received Royal Assent, however in August 2018, the integration of railway policing in Scotland has been suspended amid concerns over Police Scotland officers and railway unions about the merge.

It has been announced that a specialist "Rail Policing Unit" will be created within Police Scotland. This unit will sit alongside the Roads Policing Unit with offices receiving specialist training for dealing with rail incidents.

Other proposals backed by the Scottish Government include merging the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) and Ministry of Defence Police (MDP)[79] into Police Scotland if further devolution over these areas is delivered to Holyrood.


In May 2015, Sheku Boyah died after being arrested by nine police officers whilst under the influence of drugs. Officers were responding to report of a male in possession of a knife which was found at the scene.[80]

In July 2015, Police Scotland failed to respond to an initial report of a vehicle crash on the M9. Lamara Bell was not discovered for three days despite concerned members of the public reporting the abandoned vehicle. She later died as a result of her injuries. Her boyfriend John Yuile also died.[32]

In 2016, Police Scotland undertook a trial of so-called 'cyber-kiosks' for analysing the contents of mobile phones. Concerns over privacy sparked a Scottish Parliament inquiry and prompted human rights groups to query the legal basis that allows officers to seize and analyse phones.[81]

In February 2017, Police Scotland’s chief constable Phil Gormley resigned following misconduct allegations that fuelled worries about the leadership and governance of Scotland’s national force. Gormley had been on indefinite leave since September, facing five separate investigations.[82][83]

In September 2017, it emerged that Police Scotland had compiled an illegal database on over 10% of the population.[84] Despite a public outcry, by early 2019, no details had been removed, but a further 162,520 peoples details had been illegally added.[85]

A Home Office report in 2017 indicated that the rate of deaths in police custody in Scotland was four times higher than in the rest of the United Kingdom.[86].

See also


  1. ^ 'Always Vigilant' in English.


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  15. ^ "Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary's closing chapter". BBC News. 15 September 2011.
  16. ^ Musson, Chris. "Police Scotland in logo blunder – The Sun –News–Scottish News". The Sun. London.
  17. ^ "Police chiefs warn officers: step up stop and search" Herald Scotland, 29 June 2014 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/crime-courts/police-chiefs-warn-officers-step-up-stop-and-search.24620750
  18. ^ "Police Scotland frisk nine times as many people as the NYPD" http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/police-scotland-frisk-nine-times-as-many-people-as-the-nypd.24811529
  19. ^ "Police Scotland to scale back station counter services and axe wardens". BBC News Online. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  20. ^ Rutherford, Nicola (7 November 2016). "Question mark over the future of 58 police buildings". BBC News. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Police Scotland Estates Disposal Consultation draws to an end". Police Service of Scotland. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
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External links

Bridge of Don

Bridge of Don is a suburb in the north of Aberdeen, Scotland. It has a population of 19,089.Bridge of Don is split into four areas for statistical purposes by Aberdeen City Council and Police Scotland: Balgownie and Donmouth, Danestone, Denmore and Oldmachar. Traditionally Bridge of Don has been split up into: Bridge of Don, Danestone, Denmore and Middleton Park. These areas have smaller areas within them.

Bridge of Don is home to two Junior football clubs: Hall Russell United F.C. and Hermes F.C. who play at neighbouring grounds in the Denmore Road area.

Deputy chief constable

Deputy chief constable (DCC) is the second highest rank in all territorial police forces in the United Kingdom (except the Metropolitan Police, in which the equivalent rank is deputy assistant commissioner, and City of London Police, in which the equivalent rank is assistant commissioner, both of which wear the same insignia as a DCC). The British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, and the Isle of Man Constabulary each also has a DCC.

Until 2006, each force could only have one DCC, who would normally be second-in-command to the chief constable. However, Schedule 2 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 amended the Police Act 1996 to permit more than one DCC within each force. The only force thus far to take advantage of this is Police Scotland (created in 2013), which has four deputy chief constables.The DCC ranks above the assistant chief constables. The role of the DCC varies from force to force. In some smaller forces (usually those with only a single ACC or no ACC), they take responsibility for territorial policing, but in most forces the role covers corporate functions including professional standards.

The rank was abolished on 1 April 1995 following recommendations made in the Sheehy Report, later confirmed by the Police Act 1996, although officers already holding the rank could continue to hold it. Most forces continued to designate one of the ACCs as "designated deputy" to the chief constable. The Home Office officially reintroduced the rank on 1 January 2002 under the terms of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.

Glasgow City Heliport

Glasgow City Heliport (ICAO: EGEG) is a heliport located in Glasgow, Scotland. The Heliport is located at Linthouse Road in Govan, close to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

The heliport is owned and operated by Babcock Mission Critical Services Onshore Ltd. and is the operating base for the Police Service of Scotland air support unit. This unit is operated by Babcock MCSOL under contract. The heliport can also handle an amount of passenger traffic. The ground facilities consist of a maintenance hangar building and parking for 6 small to medium-sized helicopters.

Aircraft permanently operating from Glasgow City Heliport are:

Police 51 - Police Scotland Air Support Unit - (Eurocopter EC-135). The callsign Sierra-Papa-99 has been retired following the 2013 Glasgow helicopter crash.

Glasgow Police Pipe Band

Glasgow Police Pipe Band is a grade one pipe band from Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1883 as the Burgh of Govan Police Pipe Band, the band enjoyed its greatest competitive success as the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band.


Jackton is a small village lying just beyond the western periphery of East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire, on the B764 road (otherwise known as the 'Eaglesham Road') connecting it to the village of Eaglesham. It is also adjacent to Thorntonhall, and the two villages share a newsletter, the Peel News, derived from the name of the road connecting the two. The settlement has recently been encroached upon by new build housing on the outskirts of East Kilbride. It lies approximately 150 metres (490 ft) above sea level.

It is also the site of the modern Training Centre for Police Scotland. The area is served by Thorntonhall railway station, which is around 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) away, and Hairmyres railway station, which is around 1.3 miles (2 km) away.

The Gill Burn runs through the outskirts of the settlement. There is only one bus stop on each side of the road for the village. The only buses running through are the 395/396 run by Henderson Travel.

List of law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom, Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories

There are a number of agencies that participate in law enforcement in the United Kingdom which can be grouped into three general types:

Territorial police forces, who carry out the majority of policing. These are police forces that cover a police area (a particular region) and have an independent police authority. Current police forces have their grounding in the Police Act 1996 (in England and Wales), a combination of Police (Scotland) Act 1967 and Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 (in Scotland) and the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (in Northern Ireland), which prescribe a number of issues such as appointment of a chief constable, jurisdiction and responsibilities.

National law enforcement bodies, including the National Crime Agency and national police forces that have a specific, non-regional jurisdiction, such as the British Transport Police. The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 refers to these as 'special police forces', not including the NCA which is not a police force. In addition, there are non-police law enforcement agencies, whose officers are not police officers, but still enforce laws, and other bodies with solely investigatory powers.

Miscellaneous police forces, mostly having their foundations in older legislation or common law. These are responsible for policing specific local areas or activities, such as ports and parks. Before the passing of recent legislation such as the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, they were often referred to as 'special police forces'; care must therefore be taken in interpreting historical use of that phrase. These constabularies are not within the scope of the legislation applicable to the previously-mentioned organisations but can still be the subject of statutes applicable to, for example, docks, harbours or railways. Until the passing of Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, the British Transport Police was such a force.The majority of law enforcement in the United Kingdom is carried out by territorial police forces that police the general public and their activities. The other types of agencies are concerned with policing of more specific matters.

Over the centuries there has been a wide variation in the number of police forces in the United Kingdom, with a large number now no longer in existence.

List of police forces of the United Kingdom

This is a list of the 45 territorial police forces and 3 special police forces of the United Kingdom. It does not include non-police law enforcement agencies or bodies of constables not constituted as police forces.

For a list of all law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom and its territories, see List of law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom, Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

Lothian and Borders Police

Lothian and Borders Police was the territorial police force for the Scottish council areas of the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian between 1975 and 2013. The force's headquarters were in Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh.

Lothian and Borders Police was formed on 16 May 1975 by an amalgamation of Berwick, Roxburgh and Selkirk Constabulary, Edinburgh City Police and The Lothians and Peebles Constabulary.

The force had 2,905 officers and 1,384 support staff as of March 2008. The force's last Chief Constable was David Strang who replaced Paddy Tomkins on 29 March 2007.

An Act of the Scottish Parliament, the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, created a single Police Service of Scotland—known as Police Scotland—with effect from 1 April 2013. This merged the eight former regional police forces in Scotland (including Lothian & Borders Police), together with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, into a single service covering the whole of Scotland. Police Scotland has its headquarters at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan in Fife.

Police (Scotland) Act 1967

The Police (Scotland) Act 1967 (c. 77) is an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament which until 2013 had provided a framework for territorial police forces in Scotland to operate within. The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, passed by the Scottish Parliament set out arrangements for organisations to replace those set out in the 1967 Act.The 1967 Act did not generally apply to any police force operating in Scotland whose jurisdiction is not defined by either local authority boundaries or by the national boundary of Scotland; certain individual sections deal with the necessary exercise of some police powers by specified non-Scottish or all-United Kingdom forces.

All Justice matters are devolved to the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 1998, however, and Scotland has (and always has had) its own civil and criminal legal systems quite separate and distinct from those in England and Wales.

The Act lead to the repeal of Police (Scotland) Act 1956 with the exception of s.37. This act also repealed the whole of Police (Scotland) Act 1966.

Police Act

Police Act is a stock short title used for legislation in India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom relating to police forces and officers.

Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band

The Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band is a Grade 1 pipe band from Fife in Scotland, established in September 2007.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI; Irish: Seirbhís Póilíneachta Thuaisceart Éireann; Ulster-Scots: Polis Service o Norlin Airlan)

is the police force that serves Northern Ireland. It is the successor to the Royal Ulster Constabulary after it was reformed and renamed in 2001 on the recommendation of the Patten Report.Although the majority of PSNI officers are Ulster Protestants, this dominance is not as pronounced as it was in the RUC because of positive action policies. The RUC was an armed police force and played a key role in policing the violent conflict known as the Troubles. As part of the Good Friday Agreement, there was an agreement to introduce a new police service initially based on the body of constables of the RUC. As part of the reform, an Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (the Patten Commission) was set up, and the RUC was replaced by the PSNI on 4 November 2001. The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 named the new police service as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (incorporating the Royal Ulster Constabulary); shortened to Police Service of Northern Ireland for operational purposes.All major political parties in Northern Ireland now support the PSNI. At first, Sinn Féin, which represented about a quarter of Northern Ireland voters at the time, refused to endorse the PSNI until the Patten Commission's recommendations were implemented in full. However, as part of the St Andrews Agreement, Sinn Féin announced its full acceptance of the PSNI in January 2007.In comparison with the other 44 territorial police forces of the United Kingdom, the PSNI is the third largest in terms of officer numbers (after the Metropolitan Police Service and Police Scotland) and the second largest in terms of geographic area of responsibility, after Police Scotland. The PSNI is about half the size of Garda Síochána in terms of officer numbers.

Police authority

A police authority in the United Kingdom is a public authority that is responsible for overseeing the operations of a police force. The nature and composition of police authorities has varied over time, and there are now just four dedicated "police authorities" in the United Kingdom, although the term can refer to various similar successor bodies.

Until 2012/13, individual police authorities were maintained for each of the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales, and for the 8 territorial police forces in Scotland. Police authorities in England and Wales were abolished in November 2012, and replaced with directly elected police and crime commissioners, and those in Scotland were merged in April 2013 to form the Scottish Police Authority as part of the creation of Police Scotland, the single police force for Scotland. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is overseen by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, and two of the three UK-wide special police forces continue to be overseen by individual police authorities. The oversight of the two police forces serving London continues to be implemented via unique arrangements.

Police burgh

A police burgh was a Scottish burgh which had adopted a “police system” for governing the town. They existed from 1833 to 1975.

Police ranks of the United Kingdom

Most of the police forces of the United Kingdom use a standardised set of ranks, with a slight variation in the most senior ranks for the Metropolitan Police Service and City of London Police. Most of the British police ranks that exist today were chosen by Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the Metropolitan Police, enacted under the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. The ranks at that time were deliberately chosen so that they did not correspond with military ranking (with the exception of Sergeant), because of fears of a paramilitary force.

The ranks are listed below in ascending order:

Constable and Sergeant

Inspector and Chief Inspector

Superintendent and Chief Superintendent

Assistant Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Chief Constable (outside London only).See also: variations for the ranks in London, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Precognition (Scots law)

Precognition in Scots law is the practice of taking a factual statement from witnesses by both prosecution and defence after indictment or claim but before trial. This is often undertaken by trainee lawyers or precognition officers employed by firms; anecdotal evidence suggests many of these are former policemen.This procedure is followed in both civil and criminal causes. The subsequent statement is generally inadmissible as evidence in the trial, but it allows the procurator fiscal, advocate or solicitor in Scotland to appear before the Courts of Scotland knowing what evidence each witness is likely to present. Following the judgement of the Appeal Court in Beurskens v HM Advocate [2014] HCJAC 99 it is possible for a precognition to be considered as a statement, and thus be admissible as evidence in court.Historically precognitions were not only a distinctive feature of Scottish criminal procedure, but vital to the defence. Before the passage of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 there was limited disclosure by the prosecution to the defence. Section 121 of 2010 Act required the prosecutor to disclose all information that would "materially weaken or undermine the evidence... by the prosecution", "materially strengthen the accused's case", or "form part of the evidence to be by the prosecutor". This was in response to the 2007 review by Lord Coulsfield. Before this the accused was entitled to a copy of the indictment with all the charges laid against them, and to a list of prosecution witnesses and productions (other evidence) and to all statements taken by the prosecution and knowledge of witnesses prior criminal records.Police officers from Police Scotland can be asked to attend for precognition by solicitors for the defence, and it is possible for them to refuse to attend (except where a Sheriff orders a precognition on oath). However, as of 7 August 2013 Police Scotland had no record of how many officers had refused to attend a precognition for the defence.

Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) was a special police force of Scotland responsible for disrupting and dismantling serious organised crime groups.

The Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA) was established on 1 April 2001, becoming the SCDEA in 2006 and was incorporated into Police Scotland on 1 April 2013. The Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 put the SDEA on a statutory footing and renamed it as the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, funded through the Scottish Police Services Authority.

Despite its title, it was formally not a police agency but a police force, whose officers are constables having the same powers as their territorial counterparts. It worked alongside other Scottish police forces and was answerable to the Scottish Government through the Scottish Police Services Authority. The Director of the agency was responsible to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament for financial and administrative matters. Some functions were shared with the Home Office Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), but SOCA required permission from the SCDEA or the Lord Advocate to conduct certain operations.

An Act of the Scottish Parliament, the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, created a single Police Service of Scotland – to be known as Police Scotland – with effect from 1 April 2013. This merged the eight regional police forces in Scotland, together with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, into a single service covering the whole of Scotland. Police Scotland has its headquarters at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan in Fife.

The SCDEA was headed by a Director General and Deputy Director General, who as members of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland formed the core of the Policy Group (the Executive of the SCDEA.)

Steve House (police officer)

Sir Stephen House (born 1957) is a senior Scottish police officer who is currently Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Tayside Police

Tayside Police was a territorial police force covering the Scottish council areas of Angus, City of Dundee and Perth and Kinross (the former Tayside region) until 1 April 2013, at which point it was subsumed into Police Scotland. The total area covered by the force was 2,896 square miles (7,500 km2) with a population of 388,000. The force operated from 27 police stations and has an establishment of 1078 police officers, 151 special constables and 594 support staff, as of February 2008. Tayside Police was Scotland's fourth-largest police force.

Territorial police forces
Regional motorway policing
Regional counter terrorism
Regional organised crime
Tier 1 Emergency Responders in Scotland
Criminal courts


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