POLICING in East Lothian and across Scotland has a long and successful record of adapting to the changing demands and needs of people and communities.

Over the course of the last 18 months, for instance, as local area commander for East Lothian, I have listened to the views of communities across the region in recognising the need to have dedicated community ward officers and youth community officers supporting communities and providing a visible dedicated resource.

We are now setting out our 2026 policing strategy for the next 10 years, which has been developed in collaboration with the Scottish Police Authority to ensure that Scottish policing remains fit for the future.

Policing has undergone major change in recent years with the transition to a single service.

Despite the most significant change in policing in more than a generation, communities have continued to benefit from a service, which has performed strongly through the activity of both local and national resources. The recent drug enforcement activity across the county, as reported by the Courier, is a testament to the success of this approach.

However, Scotland’s communities continue to diversify and grow, and the needs of people in society are changing.

In East Lothian it has been estimated that between 2010 and 2025 the local population will increase from 97,500 to 115,933 – the largest growth in the Lothians and the fourth highest growth in Scotland.

This growth will see a population with a higher proportion of older people and a higher proportion of younger people than the national average.

Demands on policing are growing as the world around us changes at rapid pace.

In order for us to meet the evolving needs of all Scotland’s communities, we must also continue to change.

Our draft strategy sets out why we must change, what will change and how we will make the change happen.

The strategy is a draft version and we are now seeking your views and input to help us shape the final publication.

We want to meaningfully involve our communities, our staff and our stakeholders in the future delivery of policing services and we’re reaching out in a proactive way, ensuring the broadest and most diverse range of recipients possible have the chance to inform and influence our final strategy.

The process has been made as easy as possible for you to submit responses, via this digital platform at consult.scotland.police.uk/consultation/2026 Alternatively you can respond in writing to: Policing 2026 Consultation, Clyde Gateway, 2 French Street, Dalmarnock, Glasgow, G40 4EH.

The consultation process has already commenced in East Lothian, with local officers engaging across the region, and runs until May 8.

I would appreciate if you can take the time to help shape the future of policing.