HC Deb 18 March 1970 vol 798 cc389-90
37. Mr. Steele

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of police amalgamation in Scotland.

Mr. Ross

The programme of police amalgamations which I announced in July, 1966, to reduce the number of small forces and create more efficient and viable units was completed in May, 1969. The programme affected 16 police forces and reduced their number to five, thus reducing the number of forces in Scotland from 31 to 20.

Mr. Steele

May I offer my congratulations to my right hon. Friend for his timely action on this matter? To what extent has the work of the police become more effective, or is it at the moment too early to say?

Mr. Ross

I do not think there is any doubt that we now have a much more effectively administered, and therefore efficient, police force. When one adds to that the development of the Scottish Crime Squad at Airdrie, one begins to appreciate the extent to which we have lacked because these measures were not undertaken at the right time. They should have been taken 20 years earlier. We lacked the modernised force to cope with modern times.