Ian Rankin: Police Scotland was a ‘pain’ for Rebus

Ian Rankin says the Police Scotland changes have been a "pain" for his writing. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Ian Rankin says the Police Scotland changes have been a "pain" for his writing. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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CRIME writer Ian Rankin has revealed that the formation of a single Scottish police force is causing him problems.

The Edinburgh author has joined the chorus of criticism over the new national service – branding the shake-up “a pain” when he is writing.

Ian Rankin has slammed the changes brought about by the police merger. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Ian Rankin has slammed the changes brought about by the police merger. Picture: Ian Rutherford

He bemoaned the downgrading of Edinburgh’s old police headquarters, the scrapping of traditional terms like CID, and even a booze ban which has been introduced for retirement parties for senior officers.

Rankin revealed how some of his police insiders in the Capital had complained to him about having to recycle old L&B uniforms.

And he revealed he had included a dig at the new Police Scotland regime, led by former Strathclyde police chief constable Stephen House, in his new stage play Dark Road, which current and former police officers in Edinburgh had lapped up.

Speaking ahead of the launch of his new “Rebus” novel, set at the time of the controversial merger of Lothian & Borders Police with other forces around the country, Rankin said the new regime had led to a string of “bonkers” changes.

Rankin revealed he had been inspired to write his new novel, Saints of the Shadow Bible, after he collected numerous anecdotes when he attended a police retirement party.

He told an audience at the Aberfeldy Festival: “The book is set in March of this year for one specific reason.

“On 1 April everything changed in the police in Scotland. There is no longer a Lothian and Borders Police, there is no longer a chief constable for any of the regions, they don’t exist any more. It’s been a pain in the ****.

“There’s no CID anymore. I keep texting mates in the police and asking them what they call it, but they tell me they don’t know.

“To save money, people in Lothian and Borders Police were told to go home and unpick the threads on their sweatshirts, so it just says ‘police’, and stick post-it notes on them if they were meeting members of the public.

“I was at the HQ last week for another retirement do.

“If you go to the old police headquarters at Fettes, it doesn’t even say police HQ or Fettes, it doesn’t say anything, because they don’t know what to call it. It’s just absolutely bonkers, but it’s all to save money apparently. It’s not saving my sanity.

“I went to this retirement do at Fettes last week and said: ‘where’s the booze?’ I was told it’s orange juice and water only now. I used to like going to them.”