Case study

Police Scotland

Ensuring that data-driven decisions improve policing and community engagement

The aim

We’ve worked closely with Police Scotland since 2019, delivering a range of research projects including tracking surveys with users of Police Scotland services, and qualitative investigations into issues such as emerging technologies, young people’s views on policing, the custody system and mental health support. The overall aim of our work with Police Scotland is to provide insights the organisation can use to improve its policing operations and public engagement.

Our approach

Our close relationship with colleagues at Police Scotland has enabled us to take on an advisory role in the co-design of research projects: we meet regularly to discuss the needs of the service and where evidence gaps exist, providing recommendations for future research where we can add value – such as follow-up qualitative research to delve deeper into the factors influencing public views of the police service uncovered through our Trust Index.

We’ve used a range of techniques to deliver these projects including online surveys, focus groups and depth interviews, tailoring our approach depending on the objectives, topic area and target audience. For example, recent research to evaluate the Mental Health Pathway (a new route to mental health support for members of the public contacting Police Scotland in mental distress) involved in-depth interviews with service users to ascertain their reasons for contacting Police Scotland and their subsequent experiences of the Mental Health Pathway service.


Our research has provided Police Scotland with regular insight on the public’s views of various aspects of Police Scotland services, such as crime/incident reporting, the complaints process and overall reputation. Ultimately, our work allows Police Scotland to make data-driven decisions that improve services for communities across Scotland.

Kevin Ditcham, Insight and Engagement Lead at Police Scotland says, “The relationship between Progressive and Police Scotland is one based on genuine collaboration and partnership. Police Scotland commissioned Progressive three years ago to deliver a robust, independent, User Experience Survey for the service and their work has been consistently delivered to an extremely high standard. Progressive’s team are flexible, easy to engage with and always deliver on time and within agreed budgets. The approach to project management is very strong, with project proposals and regular check-ins, and findings presentation meetings to support us. Research areas have grown through new projects to enhance baseline findings over the years, with new issues explored as the needs of policing and local communities change. The team at Progressive are close partners of Police Scotland and the relationship continues in a meaningful way, supporting policing leaders to lead change and adapt services to meet the needs of all communities.”

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