Northern Constabulary 'worth defending' chief says

Chief Constable Ian Latimer. Pic: Northern Constabulary Ian Latimer is to retire as chief constable later this year

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A chief constable has repeated his opposition to the creation of a single police force for Scotland.

Ian Latimer, who will retire later this year, said the future of Northern Constabulary was "worth defending".

In the force's e-magazine, he said he had not expected to spend his final year as chief fighting to protect the structure of the constabulary.

The Scottish government has been a consulting on how to reform the police and fire service.

It has been suggested that Scotland could be served by a single national police force.

Mr Latimer favours the retention of Northern Constabulary, which covers the Highlands and Northern and Western isles, or it being expanded as one of a smaller number of larger police forces.

In the magazine, he said: "It is not how I envisaged my final year as chief constable, defending the future of a locally accountable police force in the Highlands and Islands.

"This is a force worth defending."

Mr Latimer added: "Northern Constabulary is one of the highest performing forces in the world, with excellent community policing, supportive communities and detection rates which are the envy of most forces in the UK."

Major incidents

Last week, Northern Constabulary said most of its officers and staff were opposed to the creation of a single Scottish police force.

The force held an internal staff survey on the plan.

A total of 778 questionnaires were completed and 86.6% of the respondents voted against a single force.

Earlier this month, Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Stephen House said a national police force would be better equipped to deal with major incidents.

He said smaller individual forces could not respond alone to large-scale emergencies.

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