Scotland is classed as 94 percent rural and with 18 percent of the population living in accessible and remote rural locations. Policing in these contexts requires the use of discretion, order maintenance and an intricate knowledge of the rural communities being policed. Policing in Scotland has undergone significant changes over the past seven years, with eight forces being amalgamated in 2013 to form a single police force, Police Scotland. Furthermore, with large societal changes, including the recent COVID19 pandemic, rural communities have also undergone significant transitions in the way they interact with law enforcement. Not only has this led to reorganisation of how policing is done nationally, but has also impacted on the way rural communities are policed and the context for social control in these locations. Utilising the theoretical concepts of ‘abstract policing’ and the ‘totality of rural space’, this chapter brings together data collected across two case studies in rural Scotland to consider the importance of different rural contexts for understanding rural policing and examine how organisational change and COVID-19 have impacted on police-community relations.


The accepted manuscript is currently restricted on the Edinburgh Napier University Repository. To request a copy, please contact: repository@napier.ac.uk.

Cite as

Wooff, A. 2022, 'Critical perspectives on rural policing in times of change: Cops, communication and context', Rural Transformations and Rural Crime: International Critical Perspectives in Rural Criminology. http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2803867

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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