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'The creation of unitary authorities should aid the impetus within police forces towards locally tailored policing ...
'The creation of unitary authorities should aid the impetus within police forces towards locally tailored policing and a more integrated approach to community safety,' says HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary John Boyd in his annual report published today.

Other significant developments affecting HM Inspectorate of Constabulary include involvement in new police funding arrangements and the widespread introduction of close-circuit TV in Scottish towns and cities, says the report.

The scale of change affecting police organisation and in legislation affecting policing had been extensive, says Mr Boyd.

The best police forces are those which do not lose sight of their responsibility to serve the public and which manage change in co-operation with the community and other local agencies, he says.

'I have been pleased to note that, where possible, forces have taken cognisance of new council boundaries when restructuring their own internal responsibilities.

'Scottish police forces have always had strong working relationships with councils in areas of mutual interest and responsibility, and I am encouraged to observe that close consultation between forces and the new councils is already underway to carry these arrangements forward.

'It would be unhelpful if the effort, expertise and experience invested in previous joint protocols in these crucial areas of public safety were abandoned in favour of divergent and fragmented practices across any force's total area.'

In relation to the move to cash-limited arrangements for police grant, Mr Boyd says: 'The advantage of giving chief constables greater financial responsibility in this way is that efficiency savings are more likely to be found to fund an ever-improving police service. However, there is currently no clear statutory authority for police forces to carry savings forward from one financial year to the next, particularly to deal with unforeseen demands, and I hope that mechanisms can be put in place to allow police authorities to build up reserves.'

In relation to CCTV, Mr Boyd says: 'The last year has seen the establishment of a large number of close-circuit TV systems in Scottish towns and cities . . . I am convinced that town and city centres can be made safer places by the deterrence of cameras and that the vast majority of law-abiding citizens welcome the opportunity to reclaim the streets from the anti-social minority.'

The total number of crimes recorded for the 1995-96 financial year was 5041,99, 4% less than in the 1994 calendar year. The overall detection or clear-up rate has increased from 32% in 1991 to 39% in 1995.

'The most effective and lasting improvements are those which are guided by co-operation with the community and other agencies. With this help, Scottish forces are now in a better position to manage, originate and capitalise on change than they have ever been,' says the report.

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