The police force is facing significant organisational reform with the recent establishment of two new police bodies. The Scottish Police Services Authority was brought into being on 1 January this year by the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 and will play a central role in co-ordinating the activities of Scotland's eight police forces.
The SPSA will assist in the training of police forces as well as administering criminal records and a new national forensic science service. It will also be responsible for administering a national data system that will collect, identify and catalogue samples obtained by individual police forces. The SPSA will take up its full powers and duties on 1 April this year and it is hoped that the new agency will lead to efficiencies within the police service.
Meanwhile south of the border, the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) will also become operational on 1 April this year and is tasked with policing improvement in England and Wales. It will replace the existing Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) and Centrex, the Central Police Training and Development Authority. In a similar vein to the SPSA, the NPIA will be tasked with taking forward reforms to the police force in England and Wales such as ensuring efficient processes and procurement
Both new bodies mark a compromise between merging individual police forces and retaining complete separation of individual forces within the police service. It remains to be seen how the new models will work in practice.