Police Values: Scotland

imagesIn Scotland, managing police use of force begins with rigorous systems for recruiting and hiring officers who reflect the values of police in Scotland.

These values are stated in a Code of Ethics, which is available on the department’s website.

It is important to mention that a statement of values statement or code of ethics does not necessarily mean  will be practiced, that’s where leadership comes in. Without a clear understanding of “who we are,” and the willingness to “be who we say we are,” integrity will be elusive.

The following are excerpts from the Scotish Police Code of Ethics:

This Code of Ethics for Policing in Scotland sets out the standards expected of all of those who contribute to policing in Scotland. This is neither a discipline code nor an unattainable aspirational tool.

Rather, this Code is a practical set of measures, which reflect the values of the Police Service of Scotland.

We are all responsible for delivering a professional policing service to all people across the country. This Code sets out both what the public can expect from us and what we should expect from one another.


  • I recognise my role in policing as being a symbol of public faith and trust, and the obligation this places upon me to act with integrity, fairness and respect.
  • I shall avoid all behaviour which is or may be reasonably considered as abusive, bullying, harassing or victimising.
  • I will demonstrate and promote good conduct, and I will challenge the conduct of colleagues where I reasonably believe they have fallen below the standards set out in this Code.


  • I will act with courage and composure and shall face all challenges with self-control, tolerance and impartiality.
  • I will carry out my duties in a fair manner, guided by the principles of impartiality and non-discrimination.


  • I take pride in working as part of a team dedicated to protecting people.
  • I will show respect for all people and their beliefs, values, cultures and individual needs.
  • I will have respect for all human dignity, as I understand that my attitude and the way I behave contributes to the consent communities have for policing.
  • I shall treat all people, including detained people, in a humane and dignified manner.
  • I shall ensure that my relationships with colleagues is based on mutual respect and understanding and shall, therefore, conduct all communications on that basis.

         Human Rights

  • I will not undertake high-risk activities or use force other than where strictly necessary in order to attain a legitimate objective and only after I have balanced all the competing priorities I am aware of.
  • I will not encourage, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment under any circumstance, nor will I stand by and allow others to do the same. I understand that the humane treatment of prisoners is an essential element of policing and that the dignity of all those I am trusted to care for remains my responsibility.
  • I understand that people have an equal right to liberty and security. Accordingly, I will not deprive any person of that liberty, except in accordance with the law.
  • I will investigate crimes objectively and be sensitive to the particular needs of affected individuals whilst following the principle
    that everyone who is the subject of criminal investigation is innocent until found guilty by a court.
  • I will respect individual freedoms of thought, conscience or religion, expression, peaceful assembly, movement and the peaceful enjoyment of possessions.

[From the PERF report, “Re-engineering Training on Police Use of Force.”]

The effectiveness of any Code of Ethics, or value-statement is:
  • How it is introduced in both pre and in-service training.
  • How it is modeled by both formal and informal leaders.
  • How it is practiced and reinforced on a daily basis.

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