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by Mark McLaughlin
05 October 2016
Chief Constable promises a

Chief Constable promises a "locally relevant" Police Scotland

Chief Constable Phil Gormley - Credit: PA

Chief Constable Phil Gormley has pledged to make Police Scotland "locally relevant" and build the "confidence of our communities" as he unveiled his new policing priorities.

An emphasis on localism is top of the agenda in the new list of priorities, which also include inclusion, prevention, responsiveness, collaborative working, accountability and adaptability.

Police Scotland has faced criticism from some quarters about local policing being diminished since the old eight forces were merged, with the headquarters and much of the decision making based in the central belt.

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Gormley said: "Policing in Scotland, which is built on a really solid foundation and traditions that are the envy of many, needs to be locally relevant and have the confidence of our communities. 

“We also need to ensure that the protection communities require to tackle emerging threats and risks is available where and when required. 

"The majority of what officers and staff deal with on a daily basis, around the clock, every day of the year relates to calls for service - people calling us at a time of crisis and need and we need to make sure we respond by having the strategic priorities set out today at the heart of what we do and how we do it.”

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “With recorded crime in Scotland at a 42 year low, I am confident that policing in Scotland is on the right track. 

"We have a world class police system in Scotland, supported by a hugely dedicated and professional workforce who work each and every day to secure the safety and wellbeing of people and communities across the country.

“I believe that the new strategic police priorities, developed following extensive consultation with people from across Scotland and key partners, will be key to shaping the future of policing in this country and will ensure Police Scotland remain a progressive and forward-looking service.”

Andrew Flanagan, chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said: "In line with the new strategic police priorities published today, the SPA have initiated work which will deliver a clear long-term vision and strategy for policing now and over the next 10 years. 

"It will have a strong focus on the quality of service that Scotland needs from its policing, how we develop new capabilities, and deliver improved benefits for our communities. 

“Through that we are committed to ensuring that the police have a workforce which has the skills and capability to meet the changing demands they face, within a shared direction and purpose for the single service that unites police professional and citizen alike."

Scottish Labour justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “These priorities must be the first step in securing the trust and confidence in policing. We need to see real leadership from Police Scotland, the SPA and the Scottish Government.

“Since the creation of Police Scotland we have had controversies over stop and search, deployment of armed officers and spying on journalists. 

"We have also had the tragic deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill at the side of the M9 and the closure of local stations.

“Setting priorities only goes so far, especially at a time when local policing is feeling the brunt of SNP cuts. If we are to truly keep our communities safe then we need to ensure Police Scotland is properly resourced.

“The public must be confident that Police Scotland and the SNP have learnt from their past failings and that hardworking officers and staff are given the support and guidance they need to keep our communities safe."

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