Aberdeen Council drops legal action over police division merger

Created in January, the new north-east division was formed through the merger of the two existing divisions, Aberdeen City plus Aberdeenshire and Moray. Picture: John Devlin

Created in January, the new north-east division was formed through the merger of the two existing divisions, Aberdeen City plus Aberdeenshire and Moray. Picture: John Devlin

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One of Scotland’s largest councils has dropped its threat of legal action against Police Scotland over a controversial decision to merge two local divisions.

Aberdeen City Council had been exploring the possibility of a judicial review over the decision to create a single unit to cover the whole of north-east Scotland.

It followed a motion passed by councillors last year amid anger they had not been properly consulted on the move.

Created in January, the new north-east division was formed through the merger of the two existing divisions, Aberdeen City plus Aberdeenshire and Moray.

Anger at the move compounded Police Scotland’s unpopular decision to close its Aberdeen control room.

Lewis Macdonald, a local candidate for Labour at next month’s Scottish Parliament election, said he was concerned at the “downgrading” of policing in the region which was previously served by Grampian Police.

He said: “It’s not five minutes since we had a police force which served Grampian alone. We’re now in a position where we have a single division to cover the whole of the region.

“Police Scotland have consistently failed to provide figures for levels of resource. The very fact that they’re not willing to identify spend on a localised level is quite suggestive.”

He added: “Aberdeen has certainly lost out [under Police Scotland]. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

But Superintendent George MacDonald said Police Scotland has engaged fully with the local community over the merger.

He said: “While acknowledging it is for the chief constable to decide the divisional structure within which the direction and control of police officers is carried out, the decision to proceed was subject to consideration and oversight by the Scottish Police Authority.

“The SPA board were satisfied that appropriate local engagement had taken place and that any issues raised had been considered by Police Scotland and reflected in the revised plans.

“These included the retention of the new divisional headquarters within Aberdeen City and dedicated senior resource to support partnership working across the various sectors, building on the excellent work which had already been established prior to the creation of the division.”

Confirming its decision, an Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “No judicial review will be sought on this matter.”

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