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PLANS to shake up Scotland’s police were signalled by First Minister Alex Salmond in October last year in his speech to the SNP conference in Perth, when he pledged to put “bobbies before boundaries”, but stopped short of announcing a single force.

A government document, A Consultation on the Future of Policing in Scotland, produced in February, claimed a saving of £197m could be made by operating a single force, but there was dissent from some senior officers, including Lothian and Borders Chief Constable David Strang, who said the savings would cut several thousand jobs.

Other senior officers disagree. Strathclyde Chief Constable Stephen House reiterated his support for a single force. The merger proposals are expected to be published next month.