DCC Rose Fitzpatrick

ose Fitzpatrick QPM, Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland, is the

most senior female police officer in Scotland, having been in post for over four years. In our recent interview with DCC Fitzpatrick, she shared the key learning from having been part of the senior team that led the transitional work for this new enterprise, talked about her early career and her approach to policing today.

Twenty-five years policing in London

Rose began her policing career with eleven years in the City of London Police, followed by fourteen years in the Metropolitan Police, where she achieved the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

She has fond memories of her time in the City, including the two years she spent on the beat as a Police Constable: “I learned to engage with the public, problem solve and work in a team. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t rely on that learning.” Equally, she benefitted from working in a relatively small organisation which treats people as individuals. “One of my aims in policing now is to remember that everyone who works for us is an individual with their own skills, hopes and aspirations.”

In the Metropolitan Police, Rose was the first female Borough Commander in London at Tower Hamlets. “There were some really stark differences. On one side of the street was the business community alongside the City of London and on the other side were some extremely deprived areas and one of the largest Bangladeshi communities outside Bangladesh.”

Rose developed her understanding of local policing here and the need to build good relationships: “It really is about taking into account the local communities; the ethnicities; the geography; and to identify the needs of


the community on a day-to-day level.” Rose and her team were able to bring about some real improvements in the relationship between the police and young men from the Bangladeshi community with whom there had been a history of tension. “We needed to help them believe that the police were there for them. At that time, they would not come to us if they had been victimised. We worked really hard at improving relations. We got to the point where we were able to hold specific recruitment events for the Bangladeshi community with full support of the East London Mosque, followed up with buddy mentoring for young people. This stands out for me.”

Moving to Scotland

So how did this senior police officer from London make the move to Scotland? “Every so often in anyone’s career, a professional opportunity comes up that is pretty unique and is so great that you think, I want do that.” She was fascinated about the challenge of taking eight police forces and two policing organisations (Scottish Police Services Authority and Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency) and bringing them together into a single organisation: “There was a real sense of starting an enterprise together.” The fact that Rose’s husband is Scottish and they had always intended to live in Scotland further enhanced the opportunity.

There is quite a history of officers moving across Hadrian’s Wall and Rose says, “Scotland is a very welcoming country and I felt personally welcomed.” The transition was an interesting one, “Having spent all my policing career within the M25, the occupational hazard now is looking at mountains, instead of looking where I’m going!”

For Rose, it is a joy to police the variety that Scotland offers: “Stretching from as far north as Shetland, with a massive focus on energy

www. c i t y s e cur i t yma ga z in e . com

and oils, right down to the Borders, which are incredibly rural and agricultural, to the Western Isles where you can look west across the Atlantic to the USA, to the east with Edinburgh, a world heritage site.”

She has found that Scotland is extremely proud of its police service, with a strong sense of connection between the service and the community. Rose told us about her police colleagues on the islands: “Their partners work in the local community, their children go to local schools, many of them volunteer with mountain rescue or in the coastguard, they are a very proud and resilient community.” But Rose does not underplay the challenge of the transition. “I moved from a place where I had an effective professional network, I knew how things worked formally and informally, the culture of organisation.” She describes the resilience needed: “You need to be able to run a marathon, with the ability to sprint every now and then.”

National service, locally delivered

Rose is responsible for all territorial local policing for Scotland and its population of 5.2 million people. Despite being a national service, the local delivery must be effective and engaged. Rose is proud of the balance achieved while recognising that, “not everything can be about the central belt: the corridor with Glasgow at one end and Edinburgh at the other”.

Rose explained how demands for policing are changing, with an increased amount of calls relating to vulnerability. “We get around 7,400 calls per day, 20-25% them (about 1,500) are crime driven. The rest are related to vulnerability. For example, 84 people are reported missing every day, many of these are elderly or frail, or related to dementia.”

Moving to a national police force

Police Scotland came into being on 1st April 2013 and Rose says, “During the last four

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