Reporting Scotland are reported to be not hot on the trail of the above story just as they have been cool, long-term, on the truth of Police Scotland’s successes.
Since the merger of Scotland’s eight regional police forces into a national single force in 2013, Police Scotland have made considerable progress in the development of a modern, successful, and forward-thinking Police Service. These achievements have largely been overlooked by the Scottish media and have seen little media coverage as Scotland’s TV and press which has focused on a small number of high-profile failures.
So, what is the good news about Police Scotland? There is more than you might anticipate.
Starting in 2019, a Police Scotland survey found increasing confidence levels with 82% reporting it to be high or very high, up from 81% in the previous year [i]. The survey attracted little or no media coverage. In the same year, the use of tasers in England and Wales was revealed to be nearly three time as common, per head of population, than in Scotland [ii] [iii] yet the Daily Record presented the Scottish data as negative because they did not use the comparative data from England & Wales.
In a related 2020 report, Police Scotland were able to say that they had never tasered a child in the seven years of their existence yet data from England revealed 25 such incidents in 2013 alone [iv] [v].
In their handling of law and order during the pandemic, Police Scotland were shown to have been more sensitive, issuing fines for lockdown laws at half the level of England & Wales [vi] [vii]. Also in July of 2020, Dr Marsha Scott of Scottish Woman’s Aid praised Police Scotland officers for their sensitive handling of women at risk during the pandemic. She noted on BBC Scotland Nine:
“And one of the big things that we found on the helpline was that a really big part of the calls in the initial part of lock-down was just information about, if women decided to leave and could leave, would the police tell them that they had to go back. I mean we heard some stories from England that that might have been the case. And I want to give lots of credit to the Scottish police. That was certainly never the message up here.” [viii]
On lockdown policing, John Scott QC, speaking in June 2020, to the independent committee scrutinising the way the police have implemented lockdown told MSPs:
“I’ve been in touch with colleagues in the human rights field in other countries and it appears that Scotland is ahead of the game here in terms of having a human-rights-based scrutiny of these emergency powers. I’ve spoken to colleagues in England and Northern Ireland and now moving further afield as well. So, I think it’s an extremely healthy sign that the initiative for this group came from within Police Scotland.”
In October 2021, in the wake of the Sarah Everard case and the Metropolitan Police’s, at best, heavy-handed policing of a vigil in her memory, Police Scotland acted quickly to reassure the public with a new verification check for lone police officers. Members of the public in Scotland can now request a control room check [ix].
Finally, in October/November 2021, Police Scotland handled the 40,000 attending the COP26 conference with good humour and self-discipline, resulting in only 97 arrests which resulted in widespread recognition and praise from Police Services throughout the world.