Merger plans for N-east police divisions

Police
Police

The North-east’s two police divisions could be merged under new proposals.

Plans being considered could see Aberdeen City Division and Aberdeenshire and Moray Division become one.

They aim to strengthen local policing and provide greater staff opportunities.

Consultation is starting with those who could potentially be affected by any changes, and with the Scottish Police Authority.

Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Thomson, responsible for local policing in the North, said: “Local commanders have identified opportunities to further strengthen local policing, increase consistency in the provision of our service to communities and ensure we continue to look for financial savings where we can marry this with service improvements.

“The main drivers for us will always be the delivery of better targeted local policing, improved access to local policing, improvements to the quality of policing service and a policing service which is more sustainable and cost-effective.”

But some local politicians are concerned by the move.

North East MSP Alison McInnes, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson, said: “There is little rhyme or reason as to how one police division can possibly be better for the North-east than three local divisions.

“People in the North-east have already been short-changed by the SNP’s centralisation agenda.”

Ellon and District Councillor Rob Merson said he was awaiting details of the proposals with interest.

He added: “There is a particular concern that the City division lacks an understanding of the rural hinterland.

“The sheer size of the geographical area involved is one which will present a challenge for all involved, especially during the transitional period, and it is essential that there is no loss of local intelligence-led policing.

“It is also of crucial importance that the morale of front-line officers is not depleted by the insensitive implementation of changes to established routines and practices – or that the expanded area of responsibility results in officers having to travel excessive distances in the course of their duties.”

Meanwhile, a similar process being conducted in the west of Scotland could see the merger of Argyll and Bute, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire divisions.