Research Activities

Practitioner Fellowships

Police Scotland - Review of Glasgow City Centre Policing Plan

    • Fellowship Practitioner Sergeant Stephen McAllister (Police Scotland)
    • Fellowship Sponsor Chief Inspector Audrey Hand (Police Scotland)
    • Academic Researcher Dr Colin Atkinson (University of the West of Scotland)

Research Context:

The policing of the largest city in Scotland has historically focused on the police officer resources deployable to the city centre itself as opposed to being inclusive of partnerships and night time economy of the west end of Glasgow for example.  The city centre has around 800 licensed premises (not including the west end) and with a national recognised culture of alcohol “over-indulgence” in Scotland, it is vital that any such model of policing is reflective of society demographics and demands.  The policing model utilised has regularly been reviewed over the years with a view to supporting and meeting the demands of the public, businesses, third sector. Elected representatives and night economy industry to name but a few. Changing demands means influences to policing styles and methods therefore it is of utmost importance to recognise the transient population, changing criminal activity and societal views on how this should be undertaken and delivered.

Historically Greater Glasgow Division (formerly A, B & G Divisions) has always been supported by mutual aid police officers tasked with working in Glasgow City Centre from elsewhere to maximise resources. These officers were identified from divisional planning departments from across the West Divisions including headquarters departments (formerly Strathclyde Police) and deployed to night shift duties over an identified weekend. Officers were tasked with reporting directly to the on duty Inspector at the City Centre Police Office and thereafter tasked with duties at the night shift briefing.

Over a period of time, this model was reviewed by previous Divisional Commanders and with the creation of Police Scotland, G Division became larger with a strong belief there was an ability to sustain policing/resources internally. A further model utilising G Division departmental officers who worked mainly day shift hours was introduced thus meaning that certain officers were required to support the policing of this city centre plan working night shifts operationally at various weekends throughout the year. This was knowns as CAV days (Campaign Against Violence). This was through time, renamed to Local Days of Action (LDA).  More recently the utilisation of CAV/LDA officers has been eroded quite significantly with limited departmental officers assisting with the policing of the City Centre nowadays.

These resources were vital to support the city policing at peak times however it is also recognised that other demands such as major events in the city often results in resources being re-deployed /reviewed as per the category of risk / intelligence.

The top five local priorities for Glasgow City area (Local Police Plan 2017-2020) are as follows:

  • Antisocial behaviour and disorder
  • Homes being broken into
  • Violent crime
  • Drug dealing/drug misuse
  • Littering/Fly-tipping


  • Identify, document and appraise the current demands on policing in the city centre and associated challenges
  • Review the history and basis for previous models and consider the wider policing requirement outwith the weekend city centre policing model
  • Research, analyse and evaluate the resources previously and currently utilised and recommend requirements to meet current demand
  • Review the wider argument for inclusion of the west-end night-time economy and provide a platform / model to pilot this
  • Review the requirement for deeper and sustainable partnership working with relevant agencies and stakeholders.

Planned Activity:

  • In relation to Objective 1: engage with city centre divisional analytical team and strategic command team, and subsequently produce a short document outlining key demands on policing and current/emerging challenges
  • In relation to Objective 2: liaise with current and previous planners, practitioners and officers involved, tracing the development and rationale for current arrangements
  • In relation to Objective 3: review policing structure, shift patterns, resource availability and make recommendation to improve / make best use of resources.
  • In relation to Objective 4: evaluate the impact on the west-end, review / discuss with Area Commanders and propose options to overcome practicalities (such as briefing officers / deployment of resources).
  • In relation to Objective 5: consult, review and evaluate the extent of partnership engagement, guidance and direction, influence and ownership of the policing model.

Key Outputs:

  • Provision of a formal report with recommendations for improvements
  • Presentation to divisional management / key partners
  • Where possible report within three months timescale