Tulliallan in line to be Scotland's Police HQ
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Central Scotland Police Chief Constable Kevin Smith
THE Scottish Police College at Tulliallan may play a greater role under Scotland's new single police force.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has previously stated that any national police headquarters should not be situated in Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Last week he announced in parliament the plans for a single police and a single fire & rescue service.
And he hinted that the police college near Kincardine may likely have an increased role if not be an official HQ.
Asked about the location of the new force's headquarters, the minister said, "It will not be Edinburgh or Glasgow. Tulliallan seems fine as a place for a chief constable to be based."
The move to a single police force and fire service is estimated to make savings of £130 million a year and £1.7 billion over 15 years.
A designated local officer would be established in each local authority as part of the plans.
Mr MacAskill said that a single police force would be free from political interference, and protect and improve local services across Scotland.
He added that the number of councillors with a formal role will "increase significantly" - only 146 of the total 1222 councillors in Scotland currently have a governance role.
George Matchett, Central Scotland Police Board convenor and Clackmannanshire councillor, said he was "disappointed" by the decision.
He said, "I am disappointed by what has happened but at the end of the day the government has made its decision and we will have to go along with it."
Kevin Smith, Chief Constable of Central Scotland Police, maintained that it would be "business as usual" while the reforms took place.
He added that being one of the highest-performing forces in the country it would be a key player in shaping the future of the service.
Indeed, Mr MacAskill announced that the Stirling-based police chief, and current president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, would be leading the shake-up.
Mr Smith said, "Our priority over the coming weeks and months will be to continue to deliver excellent policing locally. While the reforms take place nationally, it will be very much business as usual for policing in the three council areas of Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling.
"Moving into the new single force structure, community-focused policing will be the foundation on which the Scottish Police Service will be built. It will continue to have a significant presence and footprint in your communities.
"While the new national police service will bring added capacity in dealing with big issues like serious and organised crime and counter terrorism, highly visible and accessible officers in our communities will be a mainstay.
"During this time of change, we will still need to have the confidence and trust of the public to continue working with us so that we can be as effective as possible in addressing community concerns, preventing crime and tackling criminality."
An eight week consultation will now take place on the proposed new structure.
Mr MacAskill said, "Reform will protect local services and strengthen connections with communities.
"The new services will devolve a lot of power to local area commanders, who will be given significant autonomy to deliver the right priorities for communities.
"At the same time we will ensure more local councillors have a say in shaping services in their area. Parliament will also have more opportunities to scrutinise the services and hold them to account.
"Existing structures were created in 1975 when regional councils were established and don't reflect modern Scotland. Reform allows us to create first class police and fire services to serve communities for generations to come."
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 14 Sep 11
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