Contested Spaces: The Politics of Strategic Police Leadership in Scotland

Kath Murray, Ali Malik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In April 2013 the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 amalgamated Scotland’s legacy forces into a single police force, Police Scotland. Focusing on the distribution of power and role of government in the post-reform period, this chapter examines the conditions or spaces in which police leaders in Scotland operate and discusses the implications for strategic leadership. Drawing on a range of evidence, the chapter examines the ramifications of a centralised political hold on Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the two bodies tasked with developing the strategic policing direction. The analysis suggests that reform has politicised the space in which strategic planning is negotiated and, by the same token, restricted the ability of police leaders to set out what the organisation proposes to do and how it will be achieved. The analysis is supported by two short case studies that show how Scottish Government policies on police officer numbers and the absorption of British Transport Police functions into Police Scotland respectively limited the ability of police leaders to develop longer-term organisational strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolice Leadership
Subtitle of host publicationChanging Landscapes
EditorsPauline Ramshaw, Marisa Silvestri, Mark Simpson
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783030214692
ISBN (Print)9783030214685
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Contested Spaces: The Politics of Strategic Police Leadership in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this