POLICE Scotland has opened a new international academy to help develop other forces around the world at its headquarters in Fife.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the role of a police officer should be as a “guardian, not a warrior” as he opened the facility at Tulliallan.
The academy follows previous projects Police Scotland has carried out with police in countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Colombia.
Later, the academy will welcome senior officers from the FBI for its national executive institute, the first time it has been held outside the US in 10 years.
Nicola Sturgeon (below) and the chief constable opened the Police Scotland International Academy today, where they spoke to those who will help run it.
Livingstone said Police Scotland wanted to contribute to the debate around police legitimacy taking place in many countries, saying “the role of police constable is as guardian, not as a warrior”.
He said: “Our values of integrity, fairness, respect and enabling human rights; our commitment to policing by consent, and our legal duty to improve the safety and wellbeing of people and communities, lie at the heart of our identity.
“These principles and approaches are vital in all we do and are, in my view, worth sharing with the world.”
The First Minister said: “The police here in Scotland are renowned for a human rights-based approach to policing.
“What the International Academy is about is Police Scotland helping police services in countries across the world where that hasn’t been the case embed that approach in their police services.”
She continued: “Work like this is never without its critics, we live in a democracy, and that’s all fair enough.
“But I 100% support this initiative by Police Scotland because I think it’s in our interest to play our part in extending the values that we hold dear to as many parts of the world as possible.”
Inspector Craig Rankine has worked on projects in Malawi and will be working with the new academy.
These schemes were rewarding for both forces despite the differences in cultures, he said.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s a completely different kind of operating environment, no amount of briefing can prepare you for being there on your own.
“I was embedded with the Malawi police service, working with their senior officers, and that is a completely different experience.”
He added: “You’re very aware of the levels of poverty – you see it everywhere.
“But you have to focus on the job and why you’re there because you can be distracted by that.
“It is quite harrowing to see young people that are suffering from malnutrition or people that are dying fairly young.
“It does make you humble and grateful for what you have back here in Scotland and I think that’s what most officers take back from the experience.”