Following the most recent coverage of the Audit Scotland report and the negative impact that this has on policing it is time to step forward and say let’s look at what has been achieved in the past eight months.
There is much positive work being undertaken, building upon a policing service that is the envy of most of the world.
That did not happen by accident; it happened by design and through the endeavours, commitment and contribution of many generations of hard-working police officers, supported by communities proud and supportive of policing.
Police Scotland has built on well-established foundations and focused, quite rightly, upon improving local service delivery, visibility and response. The men and women who proudly serve Police Scotland accept the challenges that exist in terms of the savings that need to be made, and that brings uncertainty and can impact upon morale.
What is compounding many fears is the way some commentators have turned policing into a political football.
Police officers openly accept challenge and readily accept the need for accountability. We do, however, expect challenge and indeed support in relation to operational policing and the results that we continue to deliver.
Police Scotland has been up and running for only eight months and violent crime is down by 14 per cent compared with last year, specialist resources are moved across Scotland when necessary and public confidence and reassurance is high.
We have something that will go from strength to strength despite the financial challenges that await us.
We simply ask the public debate to look at the improvements being put in place as this is what communities want and need to hear.
Police Scotland has the opportunity to transfer the fear of crime to the criminal and reduce the number of victims and crime levels even further.
We are not looking for applause; just recognition that one of the biggest public-sector reforms Scotland has seen and the biggest change to policing in 40 years has been delivered and will continue to evolve.
Tell us when we get it right and, yes, when we get it wrong.
As an officer who has completed almost 30 years’ police service I know that the best is yet to come. I know that because operationally we are way ahead of where we thought we would be at this time.
(Chf Supt) David O’Connor
President, Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (Asps)