The origins of the Association can be traced to 1805, which saw the earliest reference to the rank of Superintendent found in the annals of the City of Edinburgh Police. However, statutory recognition was not given to the rank until enactment of the Police (Scotland) Act 1857.
The route towards a formal Association was further developed by the Police Act of 1919 which laid the foundations of the Scottish Police Federation to represent officers up to and including the rank of Inspector. The interests of chief officers were represented by the Chief Constables’ Club, which in 1920 became the Chief Constables (Scotland) Association. This meant that an organisation representing the interests of Superintendents and Lieutenants who at that time were the equivalent rank to Chief Inspector was the only gap left to be filled.
In 1920, the Secretary of State’s Conference gave approval for the Superintending ranks to choose representatives to sit on the Scottish Police Council.
An extract from The Glasgow Herald, Saturday 12th April 1924 (p.11) documents discontent within Aberdeenshire County Council on viewing the request for the constitution of a Representative Council of Superintendents and Lieutenants of the Scottish Police.
“At a meeting of the Standing Joint Committee of Aberdeen County Council yesterday the Clerk (Mr W Murison) submitted a letter from the Scottish Officer with a scheme for the constitution of a Representative Council of Superintendents and Lieutenants of the Scottish Police. Attendance at the meetings of the council would be considered as police duty, and their expenses would be chargeable to the police authorities. Mr Gordon A. Duff of Meldrum, who presided, asked what the idea was. The Clerk – To discuss conditions. Sir Arthur Grant, Bart., of Monymusk – A sort of trade union? The Clerk said that an equal representation was not given in the council to the employers. Sir Arthur Grant – Let them pay for this if they want to go. I don’t see why these superintendents and lieutenants if they want to form an association should not pay for it. We give them good pay and good wages, and they should be able to do something for themselves. The Clerk said that the other ranks had meetings for the purpose of electing representatives, and their expenses were being paid. They were all members of the same Police Council, with the Secretary for Scotland as their president. Mr William Park moved that the police officials pay their own expenses. Sir Arthur Grant seconded, and this was agreed to.”
Notwithstanding this, approval was given for the formation of the Association of Superintendents and Lieutenants. This lasted until 1947 when the rank of Lieutenant was discontinued and the organisation was renamed the Scottish Police Superintendents’ Council.
The Association’s present name was adopted in 1953 and in 1985, approval was given by the Scottish Office for the establishment of a full-time Secretariat. The name – the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents –reflects our role in the police staff structure.
Copyright 2015: Association of Scottish Police Superintendents