Impact through collaboration: Policing data in Scotland
Throughout 2019 and 2020, ADR Scotland has been collaborating with the police, policing authorities and practitioners in Scotland around data sharing.
Led by Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) Safer Communities Strategic Impact Programme Lead, Professor Susan McVie, SCADR have both lead and participated in a range of key stakeholder events to promote the value of secure data sharing and linkage, and the potential of administrative data research for evidence-based insight.
The most recent event, held in October 2019, was with Understanding Inequalities and Police Scotland to discuss data-informed approaches to policing and identify data priorities for policing in Scotland. A key focus of the day was highlighting the challenges associated with accessing and linking police data and finding potential solutions and ways of working across organisations to reduce these barriers.
“Accessing data around crime and justice in Scotland is an area of great potential, but also has huge sensitivity and challenges. Through our work in the SCADR, we have established close partnerships with the police and other criminal justice organisations and are creating a platform of trust around data sharing that focuses on the benefits of this to both the public and the organisations themselves.” Professor Susan McVie, University of Edinburgh
Professor McVie has also taken part in two roundtable events held by the Scottish Police Authority, on research evidence and police action, and policing data and statistics and public discourse respectively; and has joined two strategic policing committees with a view to coproducing research topics within the remit of safer communities.
In February 2020, Professor Betsy Stanko, OBE, was invited to Edinburgh to share her experiences from working in the London Metropolitan Police and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime as Head of Evidence and Insight. The seminar, attended by a range of stakeholders from the policing community, continued the debate around knowing our data, looking at it systematically and thinking about it differently to offer new insights that support policy and practice.
In April 2020, Susan was invited by the Scottish Police Authority to join the Independent Advisory Group on Police Use of Temporary Powers Related to the Coronavirus Crisis to provide scrutiny of policing in Scotland during the pandemic. She was appointed specifically because of her knowledge of policing data, and part of her role will be to harness the power of Police Scotland’s existing datasets and commission new data collections to help inform the work of the Advisory Group.
Collectively, these and other forms have engagement, have built an agenda and advocacy for data sharing in crime and justice in Scotland and contributed to a culture change in this sector. Now working closely with the Chief Data Officer for Police Scotland and Justice Analytical Services in Scottish Government, ADR Scotland are developing pilot projects to showcase the efficacy of such work and pioneer new approaches to data-driven research.