NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Grampian Police chief constable's single force concerns

Kenny MacAskill and Grampian Police officers
Image caption Mr MacAskill visited a local policing initiative in the Balnagask area

Grampian's chief constable has said he still has fears over possible dangers posed to the north east of Scotland by a single police force.

Colin McKerracher was speaking after he and senior officers met Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Mr MacAskill is widely expected to announce next week the scrapping of Scotland's eight police force structure.

Mr McKerracher has been one of the fiercest critics of the proposal.

He fears that areas away from the central belt could lose out.

He told BBC Scotland: "I think he has heard the concerns, but I think it's difficult for us to be assured as he does not have the detailed information.

"We tried to reinforce that the geography of the north east of Scotland is quite different to other parts of Scotland."

Mr McKerracher said he asked for assurances about policing levels being protected.

He said: "He gave us his own personal reassurance that these would be things he would want to protect."

Mr MacAskill met the force on Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting was further indication that he could be set to announce a single police force for Scotland.

Mr MacAskill also visited a local policing initiative in the Balnagask area of the city.

Earlier in the week he told a conference that other options for change could not deliver the same benefits as a single force.

He is due to formally announce his decision on the future of policing to the Scottish Parliament next week.

Critics of the reform have raised concerns about the anticipated savings and the loss of local accountability.

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