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by Jenni Davidson
26 September 2019
‘Challenges remain’ in role of Scottish Police Authority, HMICS report says

Police Scotland van - Image credit: George Clerk/iStock

‘Challenges remain’ in role of Scottish Police Authority, HMICS report says

“Challenges remain” in the role of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), six years after it was set up, HM inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICS) has said.

The police inspectorate found a “lack of rigour or effectiveness” in holding the chief constable of Police Scotland to account.

In a review of the SPA, HMICS said that there has been confusion about the SPA’s function because each of the three chairs had had a different view about how the body should perform its governance role.

A low level of response to a public survey suggested a lack of public awareness about the SPA, HMICS added.

However, HMICS did find evidence of “genuine progress” at the Scottish Police Authority over the past 18-24 months.

It said the appointment of “experienced and talented individuals” to both the Police Scotland senior leadership team and to the SPA board was a “significant achievement”.

HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland Gill Imery said: “Whilst progress and improvements have been made in the SPA over the last 18-24 months, I consider that the SPA still requires to fully demonstrate the value it adds to policing in Scotland through its statutory role and relationships.

“I am confident that with the right leadership and supporting resources in place this can be achieved.”

The SPA was created in 2013 by the Police and Fire Service (Scotland) Bill, which merged the existing eight regional police forces in Scotland into a single Police Service.

The SPA was created to keep the single national force at arms-length from the government and it is tasked with appointing senior police officers, holding the chief constable to account and providing oversight and scrutiny, as well as providing forensic services.

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