Creation of national police and fire services given royal seal of approval

Police reform: Bill for single Scottish force published.
Officers: Both police and fire services have been approved.© STV

The creation of new national police and fire services has been given the royal seal of approval.

Formal assent follows a vote at the Scottish Parliament in June to merge the existing regional forces into single bodies.

The Scottish Government have argued national forces will reduce duplication of services and could save £1.7bn over 15 years.

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 was opposed at Holyrood by Liberal Democrat and Green MSPs who are concerned the Government will centralise and politicise the police.

Community safety and legal affairs minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "Reform will safeguard frontline police and fire and rescue in our communities.

"Local commanders and local senior officers for every council area in Scotland will work closely with local authorities and community planning partnerships to shape local services and prioritise local needs.

"Single services will also protect and enhance local policing and fire and rescue services, improving engagement with the public and increasing access to national services and expertise such as the new specialist crime division, firearms teams and flood rescue, whenever and wherever they are needed."

Recruitment is under way to fill key positions such as the chief constable and chief fire officer.

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