The establishment of Police Scotland: An Analysis of the Reform

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European Journal of Police Studies

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In September 2011, the Scottish Justice Secretary announced that in order to address significant reductions in government appropriations, the eight local police forces would be replaced on 1 April 2013 with a single national Police Scotland. The statement heralded the most significant changes in the history of policing in Scotland, sharply contrasting with the current emphasis placed on
community policing and localism in police services in other western democratic countries. This article presents an examination into the planning and the development of the Scottish police merger 12 months after the establishment of Police Scotland. Based on a number of semi-structured interviews with policy and decision makers, the research found that the Scottish Government decision to reform policing in Scotland does not appear to have been based on best evidence or best practice and that the implementation process has been mechanical by primarily relying on the introduction of legislation.