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The sector employs over 56,000 people in Scotland, just over 2.2% of the total Scottish workforce.

39% of the sector workforce is female. Only 2% of the workforce in Scotland is from a minority ethnic background, which is 7% lower than the share in the whole UK economy.

Across Scotland, the policing and law enforcement and the custodial care sub-sectors are the least ethnically diverse (both approximately 1%). However, 21% of all employees in Courts and Tribunals are from an ethnic minority background.

The age profile of the workforce in Scotland shows that the sector employs a lower proportion of workers at either end of the age spectrum (under 25 years and over 55 years) than the whole economy and the overall UK justice sector. The highest proportion of the workforce in the sector in Scotland is aged between 35-44 years (33%), which is higher than in the whole economy (25%) and the UK justice sector (30%).

The associate professional and technical major group dominates the occupational profile of the sector across Scotland (54%), compared with 53% in the UK justice sector. The overwhelming majority of the justice sector workforce in Scotland are employees (100%) and on a permanent contract (99%), and the majority work in full-time jobs (88%).


Policing and Law Enforcement is one of the largest sub-sectors in Scotland employing 26,629 people.

In Scotland, the community justice workforce comprises:

  • 2,588 people working in offending behaviour
  • approximately 78 people working in community safety
  • 822 people delivering youth justice services
  • an unknown number working with victims, survivors and witnesses, and in substance misuse
  • Some key skill shortages in the Scottish workforce include: keeping up with policy and legislative change; partnership working skills; financial management, such as securing funding; and ICT skills.

In Scotland, the Scottish Court Service (SCS) employs 1,400 people. There are 220 people working to support the Tribunals Service in Scotland. The Scottish Court Service has identified the following areas for workforce development over the next three years: increased partnership working; leadership and management; keeping up with legislative change; plus ICT and soft skills related to communications.

In Scotland, 4,869 staff are employed across both the Custodial care private and public sector. All of the prisons in Scotland, with the exception of two that are privately run, are operated by the Scottish Prison Service. Future workforce development needs include: increased partnership working and partnership working skills; keeping up with legislative change; and ICT and soft skills relating to communications.

Scotland has 7,538 people employed in 8 fire and rescue services, of which only two remain under unitary control and the others under joint boards. The 8 fire and rescue services vary widely in size and structure, reflecting the nature of their different areas. The workforce comprises:

  • 3,586 full-time Firefighters, of which 3,470 are male and 116 are female
  • 2,514 retained Firefighters, of which 2,368 are male and 146 are female
  • 326 volunteer Firefighters, of which 284 are male and 42 are female
  • 205 control room staff, of which 23 are male and 182 are female
  • 907 non-uniformed support staff, of which 363 are male and 544 are female
  • Across all job roles, only 51 are occupied by Black Ethnic Minority staff. As with the Fire Service across the UK, there are challenges around attracting diverse groups to enter the service.

In Scotland, there are approximately 550 forensic science staff working for either non-departmental government bodies or commercial providers. The commercial provider Scientifics Ltd. has offices in both Scotland and England. The main forensic science employer is the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA).

In Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) provide independent public prosecution and deaths investigation service. It is a department of the Scottish Government and is headed by the Lord Advocate. The Procurator Fiscal Service is divided into 11 areas, with an Area Procurator Fiscal for each. There is a network of 48 Procurator Fiscal offices, one for each Sheriff Court district. It employs 1,520 staff of which 30% are legal staff. The following skill shortages have been identified: increased partnership working; leadership and management; and keeping up with legislative change.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010 and Skills for Justice Sector Skills Assessment – Scotland 2010