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Police Officer


Terms and Conditions

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The purpose of this handbook is to ensure a shared interpretation and consistent application of the negotiable conditions contained within the Police Service of Scotland Regulations, Determinations and supporting circulars.  It also includes reference to the current content of the relevant workforce agreement to ensure a full picture in terms of entitlement.  Hyperlinks are available to allow for a more detailed understanding of the only truly authoritative sources of information that sit behind the content of this handbook.

Whilst the handbook sets out entitlements, the Police Service of Scotland process for claiming or receiving such entitlements can be located within the Police Scotland Policy Hub section of the intranet.

Structure of Handbook

The Police Officer Handbook begins with a Quick Reference Guide which highlights the areas of police officer terms and conditions that are most commonly queried.  There is more detail within the main body of the handbook, however the Quick Reference Guide focuses on outlining the key information and illustrative examples in relation to these entitlements.


Police officers terms and conditions are a mixture of ‘rights’ as provided by legislation and conditions negotiated through the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) or otherwise agreed by the Scottish Ministers who must make regulations as to the governance, administration and conditions of service in particular about pay, allowances and expenses, hours of duty, public holidays and leave.  The regulations, determinations and supporting circulars are created and amended by legislative processes.  Therefore, they must be followed and are not subject to variation or negotiation other than through the PNB.

Employment Status

Police officers are Crown servants who hold the office of constable.  They are not employees in the normal sense. Some aspects of employment law apply to police officers but these have to be considered alongside the relevant police regulations, which have primacy. Most statutory employment rights do not apply to office holders such as police officers.  While an employee’s rights and duties are defined by an employment contract, the rights and duties of an office holder are defined by the office held and exist independently of the person who fills it. 

Duty of a Police Officer

It is the duty of a police officer to prevent and detect crime, to maintain order, to protect life and property, to make reports to prosecutors, bring offenders to justice, execute warrants and attend court to give evidence.  A constable must carry out lawful orders and perform all duties within the scope of that constable’s office.  The chief constable can recall a constable to duty or require that constable to work at any time.

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