Police Scotlands consistent service and increased visibility during the COP26 climate change summit were key factors in strengthening public confidence in policing, a new report shows.
The high visibility of the Police Scotland policing operation for COP26 was a key factors in strengthening public confidence in the force.
Courtesy Police Scotland
The Police Scotland Quarter 3 Performance Report for 2021-22 outlined findings of the service’s Your Police Survey between October and December 2021, during which over 800 members of the public shared their views on policing in Scotland.
The survey showed that overall reported confidence in policing during this period (43%) has returned to levels closer to the 2019-20 average of 48%, following significantly higher results during 2020-21 (57%), when the most stringent Covid restrictions were in place.
Those surveyed said friendly and approachable police officers doing a difficult job in their communities were appreciated, while increased police visibility, especially during COP26, was seen as a positive.
The main areas of concern for the public included anti-social behaviour and drug related harm.
Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor QPM said: “The public places significant value upon policing. Our strong bond with our communities is central to our legitimacy and key to enabling effective policing. I am hugely grateful for that continued support.
“The Chief Constable has thanked everyone who played their part in ensuring a safe and secure COP26 climate conference. The Chief was also clear that maintaining an effective policing response for communities right across Scotland was crucial.
“Successfully policing COP26 and meeting the complex policing needs of our communities, while also responding to the challenges presented by coronavirus, meant that the Quarter 3 reporting period continued to be a demanding and relentless time for our committed officers and staff.
“To support effective policing, we took quick action to maximise the availability of officers and staff in frontline community based duties, including the deployment of more than 300 officers from specialist functions and over 250 probationary constables, with appropriate supervision, into local policing divisions.
“Probationary constables have now returned to their initial training and we will manage our recruitment in order to build our officer establishment to full strength over time.”
The Quarter 3 Performance Report also details areas of concern for our fellow citizens including anti-social behaviour and drug harm, as well as the changing nature of the needs of our communities, including increases in report sexual and cyber related crime.
Overall violent crime between April and December (47,789) is in line with the five year average (down 0.2%), although is 6.3% higher than the same period last year. This is likely due to the reduced levels of most types of violent crime as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns.
DCC Taylor added: “Demand in the sexual crime and cybercrime spaces, in particular, have increased against the five year average. This increase highlights how our response to online offending and public protection are very much a key part of frontline policing in a modern society.
“We are investing in our digital forensics capability and significant work is underway to implement our Cyber Strategy. Tackling sexual crime remains a key priority and we will continue to focus campaigns and enforcement in this area.”
The Performance Report is published today and will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority Policing Performance Committee on Thursday 17th March.
Associated Management Information is available on the Police Scotland website: www.scotland.police.uk/about-us/what-we-do/how-we-are-performing