Proposal to strengthen 
local policing

Peterhead Police Station
Peterhead Police Station

Early discussions are underway to engage on proposals for the possible restructuring of Aberdeen City Division and Aberdeenshire and Moray Division.

The proposal aims to strengthen local policing for communities in the region and provide greater opportunities to police officers and police staff serving in the area.

The plans being considered could potentially see the Aberdeen City Division and the Aberdeenshire and Moray Division merge into a single division.

ACC Campbell Thomson, who is responsible for the delivery of local policing in the North, said: “As a policing service we are continually evolving as we keep our structures under review.

“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.

“Early engagement will now begin on this proposal and it is essential that we consult with staff and engage with our external partners to test locally that the benefits proposed are both supported and understood that we listen to all feedback.

“As an organisation, our focus is on keeping people safe and the local policing service we provide to communities is the foundation stone on which Police Scotland is based.”

A full programme of consultation with staff potentially affected by any changes and engagement with key local stakeholders is now underway.

Early engagement has also taken place with the Scottish Police Authority.

ACC Thomson added: “We are committed to working alongside officers and staff to explain what any proposal could mean for them and potential timescales going forward.

“The strength of Police Scotland is, and will always remain, the people who work for the organisation and who, every day of the week, are helping to keep our communities safe.”

Commenting on the proposals, Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith told the Buchanie: “I welcome any moves which result in a more efficient police service.

“I’ve had a briefing on this from Police Scotland and it’s clear that this proposal is about creating more effective working by the police across the North-east so that front-line police numbers can be strengthened.

“We already have a guarantee from the Scottish Government on police numbers and we’ve seen the benefits locally that the introduction of the single service has brought.

“For example, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard senior local officers say - either directly to me or at community meetings - that they now have access to a much wider range of back-up and support services as a result of the new arrangements.

“The police locally do a good job but, even so, the improvements we’ve seen recently only go so far in the fight against criminals and the community needs to continue to feed in useful information which allows the police to tackle crime.”

Meanwhile fellow councillor Jim Ingram said: “I haven’t seen the fine details about this but it seems that we are returning to the same structure that was in place with Grampian Police as there will be officers covering both Aberdeen City and Shire.

“It appears to be going back to the structure that was in place before the creation of Police Scotland,” he added.