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Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012

Chapter 7 – Local Policing

52.This Chapter sets out the arrangements for local policing, including the new relationship between the Police Service and each local authority. Under section 44 the chief constable is under a duty to ensure that there are adequate arrangements in place for policing within each local authority area. The chief constable is required to consult the local authority and designate a constable as local commander for each local authority area, although one local commander can cover more than one local authority area.

53.Section 45 requires local commanders to involve local authorities in setting priorities and objectives for the carrying out of police functions in the local authority area. The local commander is required to provide the local authority with any reports that it requests on the carrying out of police functions in its area; statistical information on police complaints in its area; and any other information about the policing of its area that the local authority might reasonably require. Where a local commander considers that complying with such a requirement would or might prejudice the carrying out of any operation by the Police Service, or the prosecution of offenders, the local commander may refer the matter to the chief constable. It is for the chief constable to confirm whether the referred requirement has effect and the relevant information should be provided. Section 45 also enables the local authority to monitor and provide feedback, including recommendations for improvement, to the local commander on the policing of the local area, and to specify policing measures that it wishes the local commander to include in the local policing plan in force for that area. This feedback may be provided with reference to any local police plan in force for the area. Under section 46 the chief constable is placed under a statutory duty to participate in community planning, and this duty must be delegated by the chief constable to the local commander for each local authority area. However, this does not affect the chief constable’s responsibility for carrying out these functions or the chief constable’s ability to carry them out. This replaces the existing statutory duty on the chief constable of the police force for an area.

54.Section 47 of the Act requires the local commander to submit a local police plan to the local authority for its approval, once the first strategic plan has been approved under section 34. When preparing the plan, the local commander must have regard to the strategic police plan and consult the joint central committee of the Police Federation for Scotland, persons who appear to be representative of senior officers, superintendents and police staff, and others as appropriate. Once it is approved by the local authority, the local commander must publish the plan in a form and manner specified by the SPA. The plan must set out:

  • the main priorities and objectives for policing the local authority area (and, where reasonably practicable, the outcomes by reference to which achievement of the priorities and objectives can be measured);

  • the reasons for selecting the priorities and objectives;

  • the proposed arrangements for policing the local authority area including how those proposals will meet the stated priorities and objectives;

  • how the priorities, objectives and arrangements for policing will help deliver any other relevant local outcomes identified through community planning; and

  • any other information linked to policing the local area that the local commander thinks relevant.

55.The local commander must review the local police plan where a new strategic police plan is approved under section 34, and may prepare and submit a replacement plan to the local authority for approval. The local commander must also review the local police plan where it has not been replaced or modified within 3 years from the date it was published and, in this case, must prepare and submit a replacement plan to the local authority for approval. The plan can be modified at any time if the local commander and local authority agree to do so. Replacement and modified plans follow the same procedure for preparation, approval, publication and review as the plans which are being replaced or modified.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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