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by Jenni Davidson
23 July 2021
Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland launch collaboration on public health and wellbeing

The first meeting between the Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland - Image credit: Police Scotland

Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland launch collaboration on public health and wellbeing

Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland have launched a new collaboration to improve public health and wellbeing in communities across Scotland.

Led by Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable Will Kerr and Public Health Scotland’s chief executive Angela Leitch, it is the first joint approach of its kind in Scotland.

The first meeting of the joint executives took place earlier this week, where it was agreed that the key priorities would be mental health and wellbeing, supporting local systems, data and analysis.

The two organisations are also implementing a learning exchange as part of the collaborative framework with an initial focus on transformation and change, learning from the creation of Police Scotland from its eight legacy forces and national resources.

Kerr said: “Many of the factors which contribute to poor health and health inequalities, such as housing education, work and income, are the same as those which contribute to the risk of offending, reoffending and becoming a victim of crime.

“This can include childhood trauma experiences, poor educational opportunities and achievement and low household income.

“By working together to address these inequalities, can help to address the root causes of crime, safeguard vulnerable people in our communities and reduce the chance of becoming a victim of crime.

“I truly believe that an improvement in the wider public health of Scotland we can reduce the likelihood of people becoming entrenched in the criminal justice system, improving their life chances and creating safer communities, while also protecting vulnerable people at risk of falling into criminality or becoming a victim.

“Ensuring people like this are treated humanely is critically important.

“Strengthening and renewing the collaborations between policing and public health will contribute to building stronger foundations for our communities to thrive and help to deliver the shared outcomes of Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland.”

Leitch added: “Together with Police Scotland we are working to address the significant health challenges that Scotland faces.

“Our partnership framework has therefore been developed to turn our shared vision and purpose into tangible actions – actions that will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“Our existing partnership work already demonstrates the power and potential of this joint public health approach.

“The ongoing pilot of police officers carrying Naloxone nasal sprays to help people experiencing a suspected overdose, and our work to provide agencies in local communities with real time data on suspected drug-related deaths and suspected suicides, are examples of how we are having a greater impact on population health and wellbeing.”

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