Police work that is not driven by crime will be the focus of Holyrood’s Justice Committee today.
Whilst preventing and detecting crime is a core function of the police, their status as a service of first and last resort means that officers spend significant amounts of their time dealing with vulnerable, incapacitated and missing people.
The British Medical Association (BMA) state that health bodies collaborate with police regularly in cases of people with dementia, those suffering from acute psychotic symptoms, mental health difficulties, personality disorders and also those intoxicated with drugs and/or alcohol.
The committee will be considering the breadth of this extra work, how the police collaborate with other public bodies and where improvements might be made to policies or practices that would improve outcomes for both society and the police.
Margaret Mitchell MSP, Convener of the Justice Committee, said:
“Police time is a precious resource, and their role in keeping people safe is vitally important.
However it has to be recognised that there are limits to what they can be expected to do.
“Justice stakeholders generally agree that improvements can be made to how public bodies and voluntary organisations work together with the police.
“Today the committee wants to take stock of the current situation.
“In doing so the question of whether this is a growing aspect of police work will be explored.
“The consequences of non-crime driven work will be discussed and consideration given to how the system could improve in the future.”
Bodies appearing at today’s committee include Police Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, the BMA, the Scottish Drugs Forum, Social Work Scotland and the Scottish Police Federation.
Papers for the committee are available here.