There has been much controversy about the structure and operation of policing in Scotland. Resolving this will be easier if there is a focus on at what level the most effective policing takes place. The number of serious crimes or crimes with a national or large geographical area which benefit from centralised policing are small—probably less than ten per cent of police business. For these, a single national force may make sense. But for the other 90 per cent, national policing obviously isn't appropriate, and it is not necessarily the case that regional-level policing makes all that much more sense. For a very large proportion of police work, the relevant scale is the community.
Rather than reorganising policing by breaking up a single national force, a more effective approach would be to allow national policing to continue to cover serious crime but to devolve policy and management of community policing to communities. Local policing should be empowered to work with the new lowest layer of local councils to develop policing strategies which are tailored to local needs. Local police and local councils can then design their approaches without the need for centralised intervention. Crime prevention, community safety, and community cohesion would be the primary goals—moving away from forms of policing associated with criminalisation, like stop-and-search, would be the ultimate aim.