THE NEW national police force for Scotland has begun with a pledge to carry a “proud history” into a new era.
Chief Constable Stephen House marked the first day of the merged force by meeting the command team at its Tulliallan headquarters in Fife and heading to a police office in Edinburgh.
“Police Scotland is up and running and is now wholly responsible for the delivery of policing to our communities, from local response to tackling the highest tiers of criminality,” he said.
“We will do this in a way which is very visible, accessible and which truly connects with public priorities, demand and tackles threat, risk and harm where it arises.
“Scotland has a proud history of policing. Police Scotland will take that record into a new era.”
The national body replaces the eight regional forces, such as Strathclyde and Grampian, which were created in the 1970s. It becomes the second largest in the UK, after the Metropolitan Police, with 17,436 officers, 6,168 police staff and 1,404 special constables.
Regional fire brigades were also merged into the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as part of a cost-saving drive by the Scottish Government.
The reforms are designed to save about £1.7 billion in 15 years.
The only real visible sign of change on day one was a new website, as well as social media sites. Despite the transition to one police force, 72 local Twitter feeds were established to cover communities across the country.
The merger has come at the cost of an estimated 3,000 staff jobs, as many backroom functions such as human resources and IT are combined.
Justice secretary Mr MacAskill said: “For the first time, all 32 local authorities in Scotland will have the opportunity to directly influence the delivery of policing in their area through local policing plans for each council ward in Scotland.”