Accounting for Complexities: An Intersectional Approach to Enhancing Police Practitioner Accountability, Legitimacy & Sustainable Reform

Closed 27 Jul 2022

Opened 4 Apr 2022


Intersectionality is a tool and critical lens which illuminates how multiple inequalities intersect. It has become a buzzword in equality and diversity discourse among academics, policymakers, and practitioners alike, yet it is often misunderstood or applied in a performative, surface-level way. It may also present challenges to police organisations operating in fixed silos where issues of inequalities, vulnerabilities, and structural oppressions are perceived and addressed as discrete categories. Yet the reality of lived experiences is far more complex and nuanced.

Intersectionality challenges regimented and fragmented thinking and offers an alternative and improved analytical and interrelated approach to engaging with groups experiencing an intersection of different and varied discrimination and privilege. Incorporating an intersectional understanding of seldom heard communities is crucial for service users to engage in genuine dialogue and to have meaningful contact and input in decision making processes.

In light of this, this project aims to develop an intersectional good practice tool kit which provides guidance on how Police Scotland can better engage with seldom heard communities. The tool kit will be informed by a literature review on intersectionality including the meanings and applicability of this term when policing seldom heard communities. The project will also run consultative workshops aimed at facilitating dialogue amongst academics, practitioners, policing and community organisations and networks, to further enhance the tool kit. In this way, the project seeks to inform Police Scotland’s objective to increase engagement with seldom heard communities through consideration of the necessity of policing with an intersectional lens to develop meaningful and effective long-term public engagement. This is a foundational pillar to sustainable reform and constructive accountability as well as towards enhancing police legitimacy.


  • Glasgow City


  • Anyone from any background


  • Case study