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Northern Joint Police Board response to HMIC’s comments on police force structure in Scotland (07/10/10)
Councillor Ian Ross, Vice-Convener of the Northern Joint Police Board, has responded to comments made by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Scottish Constabularies Bill Skelly suggesting that running eight police forces in Scotland is unsustainable and that the number of forces should be reduced to make cost savings.
Councillor Ross said: “It is now clear there will be some form of structural change within Scottish policing. It is crucial that this takes full account of the importance of local control and accountability.
“It is vital that any future structure fully recognises and understands the geography, distances and culture of the wider Highlands and Islands. As a Police Board, we are keen to participate in and influence the debate on any future changes and we would actively encourage a more innovative approach to the examination of possible structural solutions – solutions which retain a strong emphasis on the retention of control and accountability in the Highlands and Islands.
“There is a real danger that strategic direction and control could sit well outside the wider Highlands and there are very real concerns over what this will mean in terms of the maintenance of the effective Highland model of policing and the retention of the level of resourcing which has resulted in the high levels of policing performance which have been achieved across the Northern Constabulary area.”