Policing Fact Sheet


Police Scotland was formally established on 1 April 2013 and is currently the second largest police force in the UK after the Metropolitan Police.

The Police & Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 had abolished the previous eight territorial police forces, their governing bodies and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

The former Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, Sir Stephen House, is the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.  However, on 27 August 2015 it was announced that Sir Stephen was to step down as Chief Constable in November 2015.

There are 14 local policing divisions, each of which is headed up by a Local Police Commander, as well as specialist divisions, such as Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism.  Operations Support divisions support functions such as Road Policing and Air Support.[2]

It is the job of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) to hold the Chief Constable to account for policing in Scotland. The SPA’s members are appointed by the Scottish Government.

Local authorities no longer contribute in terms of finance or governance to policing in Scotland.

Key Statistics:

Issue Latest figure Change on last year Change on 2006/7
Police Officers FTE[3] 17,295  (Q1 2015) + 51 on Q1 2014 +1,061 on Q1 2007
Recorded Crime 270,397 (2013/14) -2,656 on 2012/13 -148,860 on 2006/7
Clear-up rate 52% (2013/14) +1 on 2012/13 +4 on 2006/7
Crimes cleared up 139,306 (2013/14) -777 on 2012/13 -59,679 on 2006/7


Reform Scotland reports:
The Thinning Blue Line, (2015)
Striking the Balance, (2011)
Power to Protect, (2008)

Further reading:
Recorded Crime in Scotland bulletin
Scottish Police Authority 
Police Scotland 
Scottish Government Crime & Justice pages


[1] http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/568325/police-chief-Sir-Stephen-House
[2] http://www.scotland.police.uk/about-us/
[3] Scottish Government, ‘Police Officer Quarterly Strength Statistics Scotland’,  March  2015