Pursuing Partnerships in Policing North of the Boarder: Contribution to a Police Scotland Executive Session

Adam Crawford, Director of the N8 PRP, contributed to the Edinburgh Executive Session on ‘Prevention and Partnerships’ organised by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and Police Scotland on 20 November 2018. The event was held in the august surroundings of the Nelson Room at St Leonard’s Hall, University of Edinburgh.

Police Scotland has recently undertaken a detailed programme of reform and published its future vision in Policing 2026. This will bring about a significant reshaping and refocusing of Police Scotland’s internal structure, strategy and operations. A core part of this programme is to revise and enhance its work with partner organisations with a view to enabling a preventive orientation throughout the work of the organisation.

The Edinburgh Executive Session brought together an international group of researchers and practitioners in this area of police work to:

  • Establish the current level of knowledge on partnerships in prevention;
  • Describe the wider legislative and policy context in which partnerships operate in Scotland;
  • Share current experiences and best practice in partnership work (nationally and internationally);
  • Consider the draft Partnership Strategy being developed in Police Scotland;
  • Explore how best to measure the success of this strategy.

The day’s deliberations were hosted by Richard Whetton, Head of Partnerships and Collaboration at Police Scotland and Dr Megan O’Neill, Associate Director of SIPR. From within Police Scotland, it was attended by Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham and Chief Superintendent John McKenzie among others, as well as Dr Liz Aston, Director of SIPR.

Professor Adam Crawford and Professor James Millar (Edinburgh University and member of the Christie Commission) began the first session setting out some of the challenges and opportunities presented in forging greater partnership working in policing. Professor Millar drew on the experiences of the Christie Commission in Scotland and public policy developments since then and Professor Crawford explored some of the conceptual and practical issues raised by adopting a genuinely networked approach to policing.

The day also heard contributions from police partnerships in the Nordic region from Superintendent Jari Taponen, Head of Preventative Policing Unit, Helsinki Police Department and Gunnar Applegren, Swedish Police on lessons for inter-agency working from Project Mareld in Stockholm, a project to reduce gun violence in an area of multiple deprivation.

In the afternoon discussion, led by Rick Muir Director of the Police Foundation, contributions from Dr Tim Curtis (Northampton University) and Richard James from Intensive Engagement focused on partnerships from an Asset Based Community Development approach and its relevance for policing.

The day concluded with reflections and discussions of next steps for Police Scotland. The opportunities for greater collaboration between SIPR and the N8 PRP were also discussed.


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