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Police powers and functions
Most police powers and functions are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Areas for which legislative responsibility remains with the UK Government include national security, terrorism, firearms and drugs.
A tripartite arrangement exists for the accountability for the police service in Scotland. Scottish Ministers retain overall responsibility for policing policy. Police Authorities and Joint Police Boards are responsible for setting police budgets and ensuring that best value is attained for the public purse. Chief Constables are responsible for the operational aspects of policing within their force areas.
Individual forces are funded in part by grant paid directly by Scottish Ministers and in part by a local authority's revenue support grant, non-domestic rate income, and the council tax. Capital expenditure is met through borrowing. The police authority or joint board agrees the budget and resources for each force but decisions on the allocation of resources to meet operational requirements are a matter for each Chief Constable.
In addition to the 8 Scottish police forces, there are a number of common police services used by all forces including the Scottish Police College and the Scottish Criminal Record Office. A collaborative agreement signed by all 8 Chief Constables and Police Authority Convenors exists for the national operation of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency.
Planned expenditure in Scotland on law enforcement in 2005-06 is just over £1.3bn. Planned grant aided expenditure on the 8 Scottish forces in 2005-06 is £1,004m, rising to £1,045m in 2006-07. Planned capital expenditure by forces in 2005-06 is around £32m and planned expenditure on other items within the police programme in Scotland (including common police services and crime prevention) is £107m.
At 31 December 2005, there were 16,164 (whole time equivalent) officers in the Scottish Police Service, spread between the 8 forces as follows:
There were also 1,196 special constables and 7,030 (whole time equivalent) support staff of which 264 were traffic wardens.