Responses to Crime - Police

Showing the role of the police in the community from crime prevention to managing traffic

Police Scotland, came into effect on the 1st April 2013. It is a single national police force and replaced the eight regional forces. The Scottish Government felt that one force would be more financially efficient and would tackle crime more effectively.

As well as Police Scotland, there are a number of other police forces which operate in Scotland. These include:

  • Ministry of Defence Police. The MOD police provide security within Ministry of Defence property across the UK (eg the nuclear submarine base at Faslane)
  • The British Transport Police. The BTP operate across the UK rail network
  • Civil Nuclear Constabulary. The CNC provides protection for nuclear materials on designated UK nuclear licensed sites and in transit, eg the transportation of nuclear waste from Dounreay
  • The National Crime Agency. The NCA tackles serious organised crime across the UK This can include Class A drugs, people smuggling and human trafficking, fraud, computer crime and money laundering
  • United Kingdom Border Agency. The UK border agency is a part of the Home Office and is tasked to protect the UK's borders

A map of Scotland with Kirkudbright Glasgow, Edinburgh, Elgin, Stornoway and Kirkwall all located.

Critics believe Police Scotland is too big and links with local communities have been lost. Law and order issues in Glasgow or Edinburgh are very different from those of Kirkudbright, Elgin, Stornoway or Kirkwall. Criticisms have been made that Police Scotland is unresponsive to local community needs.

Two high-profile criticisms included the deployment of armed officers on the beat – armed officers were seen in a fast food restaurant in Inverness. There were also calls for change following the failure to investigate a car crash on the M9 motorway which led to the death of a passenger.

The overall job of the police is to protect the community, prevent crime if possible and once a crime has been committed, apprehend those responsible.

Police Scotland officers have a number of roles:

  • crime prevention
  • arresting criminals
  • maintaining public order
  • managing traffic
  • investigating crimes