Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson is encouraging members of the public to have their say on how the police service in Scotland should be shaped over the next decade.
The Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland have set out their vision in a draft strategy, which is open for public consultation for the next 10 weeks.
Policing 2026 includes a commitment to increase frontline capabilities, including new civilian specialists in cyber-crime and mental health.
Justice Secretary Matheson said: “I welcome the work to develop the draft strategy for public consultation, to ensure Police Scotland keeps pace with the changing nature of crime and of society. I am particularly pleased to see the service’s commitment to increase its operational capacity in critical areas.
“Alongside this Government’s commitment to protect the police resource budget for each year of this parliament, we have provided an enhanced £61million reform budget for 2017-18 to support the transformational change outlined in this draft strategy.
“While our Programme for Government is clear about the need to consider the right mix of skills and not just overall numbers, the public will always be interested in the number of police officers on the beat. We will pay particular attention to these issues before approval of the final strategy. In all circumstances, I would expect to see the number of police officers remaining significantly above the number we inherited in 2007. Indeed, our enhanced funding gives police the platform to invest in the wider workforce, technology and other resources to keep communities safe.
“Scotland’s police service is working well, with recorded crime at its lowest level since 1974 and clear-up rates at a 40-year high, while public confidence remains strong. But as those who prey on our communities seek to exploit new opportunities, and as the needs and vulnerabilities of our population change, so Police Scotland must embrace new approaches.
“I urge all those with an interest to have their say on this next phase of policing in Scotland.”
To have your say, go to consult.scotland.police.uk/consultation/2026/