Single police and fire services plan approved by MSPs
Scotland's eight police forces are to be merged into a single, national service, under cost-cutting plans passed by parliament.
The Police and Fire Reform Bill will also see a new national fire and rescue service by April next year to save an overall £1.7bn over 15 years.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said while the bill was cost-driven he would make "a virtue out of a necessity".
The opposition claimed it would hit local accountability.
And while Labour and Tories backed the proposals, opposition politicians raised concern over whether the mergers would deliver the projected savings and whether they could see a mass cull of police civilian staff.
Trade union Unison claimed the police service merger would create a "lack of local democratic accountability" and could lead to the loss of up to 3,000 police staff roles.
The Scottish government will have to foot a £30m VAT bill incurred through centralisation, despite asking the Treasury for an exemption, which Mr MacAskill described as "bitterly disappointing".
The Scottish Police Federation, which represents 98% of officers, said the restructuring would help maintain police numbers and fight crime.
Mr MacAskill told MSPs crime in Scotland was at a record low, despite "unprecedented" Westminster cuts, adding: "We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create the sort of world-class, public-focus service we want for Scotland."
End Quote Alison McInnes Lib Dem justice spokeswoman
We cannot support the savaging of our outstanding local emergency services for little more than the sake of a ministerial power grab”
Labour's Lewis Macdonald said has party had long argued in favour of single police and fire services, but said of the SNP's bill: "It delivers single services, but it does not provide adequate accountability locally or nationally and the way it's being delivered and the way it's being delivered is at the expense of dedicated civilian staff."
Tory justice spokesman John Lamont said the Scottish government had actually rejected offers from the Treasury to resolve the VAT issue.
He told MSPs: "Despite the best efforts of the opposition parties, the bill does not adequately protect local accountability or ensure that savings are delivered."
Lib Dem justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes, whose party did not back the mergers, said that of the 125 opposition amendments put forward to the bill, the majority SNP government accepted five "minor" ones.
Speaking just before MSPs voted to pass the bill, she said: "We cannot support the savaging of our outstanding local emergency services for little more than the sake of a ministerial power grab and we will be voting 'no' this evening - however futile a move that might be."