Police league tables to be published in Scotland

Scottish police forces are to be ranked in a league table according to their performance in fighting crime, according to the Sunday Times. Ministers are currently involved in discussions with the Association of Chief Police Officers with an aim to publish the first league tables next year.

Performance indicators will include detection rates, response times to emergency calls, police sickness and complaints from members of the public. The information will be weighted to take into account the size of the force and the population it serves. This will allow comparisons to be made between police forces.

The Scottish Executive appears to be totally opposed to the publication of league tables for public services such as health and education, claiming that the public cannot be trusted to interpret the information properly. But the Sunday Times reports that it has forced the publication of performance data for primary schools, surgeons and judges, using freedom of information legislation.

Although information about recorded crime and inspection reports by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland are published regularly, senior police officers accept that it is difficult to compare how forces perform against each other.

Tom Buchan, president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, said “Crime figures are susceptible to spin by anyone but what’s important is that the public is given information which is relevant, clear and easy to understand and that they are satisfied with the service we deliver.”

Police to publish league tables (Sunday Times, 5 February 2006)