Police Scotland – Spotlight on Closing Pay Gaps

Police Scotland was established on 1 April 2013. We are responsible for policing across the whole of Scotland including some 28,168 square miles.

This area covers a third of the United Kingdom’s landmass and has a unique range of urban, rural, island, and remote communities. It is the second largest force in the UK (after the Metropolitan Police), with a workforce of 23,000 officers and staff working together for the people of Scotland.

Our purpose is to improve the safety and wellbeing of people, places, and communities in Scotland, focusing on keeping people safe in line with our values of integrity, fairness, and respect.


As a service provider and employer, we require the trust and confidence of the public to deliver a fair, legitimate, and effective service. We recognised the need to address the pay gap to ensure that staff felt it was a fair and equitable place to work, regardless of gender. We also wanted to attract and retain the most talented workforce.

Innovative actions

The pay and reward modernisation project was set up to ensure that all Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority (SPA) staff are employed under common terms and conditions (including pay and benefits) rather than their legacy or interim SPA arrangements.

This ensured fairness and equity for terms and conditions of employment, including a standard working week, standard leave and public holidays, and a common approach to pay and grading roles.

Evidence of impact

Reporting and benchmarking helped us reveal the true size and cause of pay gaps in the organisation. Continuing to publish and monitor the gender pay gap has helped us to address any issues while demonstrating our transparency to the board and the public.

By comparing results with other organisations, we were able to seek a view from a broader perspective and measure our results consistently against a wider pool.

The implementation of a single set of terms and conditions has led to several important changes. It has enabled pay gap reporting to be extended to include race, disability, and sexual orientation as well as gender. It has also improved data gathering systems, which has supported Police Scotland’s continued ability to address areas of gender inequality across employment practices. Furthermore, it has contributed to the advancement of equality in our organisation.

The information contained within this resource was accurate at the time of its publication and subsequent revision. This article was created in 2021 and revised in April 2022.

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