Sheriff officers are part of a larger organisation known as the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers (SMASO), which was established in 1922,. It is the only organisation which represents the interests of Scottish officers of court and acts as a channel of communication between officers of court, the legal professions, prospective clients and various authorities concerned with the execution of civil court warrants within Scotland. 

A Messenger-at-Arms is an officer of the Court of Session which is the supreme civil court in Scotland. A Messenger-at-Arms can travel anywhere in Scotland and can serve documents and enforce court orders of the Supreme Court. 

A Sheriff Officer is an officer of the regional civil court. Scotland is geographically divided into six sheriffdoms and 49 local sheriff court districts. Unlike a Messenger-at-Arms, a Sheriff Officer can only operate in the geographical area for which he holds a commission.