MINOR crime could be dealt with by a new system of more than 30 local police forces in Scotland, according to the Scottish Conservatives.
The party claims the single national force, introduced in April 2013, has struggled to win public confidence.
The Scottish Tories are proposing a new model – where the single force concentrates on serious crime and 32 local forces take care of the rest.
The party’s enterprise spokesman Murdo Fraser MSP said the forces would be accountable to local councils.
Mr Fraser said the arrangement might address some of the difficulties faced by the new Scotland-wide force.
He claimed these included loss of community policing, closures of local stations, stop and search and routinely armed police officers on the streets.
The new local forces would be run by an officer of Chief Superintendent rank or above and directly accountable to locally elected councillors.
Local councils would benefit, he added, by taking charge of crime and safety issues.
The arrangement would not cost taxpayers any more than running a single superforce, he suggested.
Mr Fraser said: “We think this proposed system could work very well in Scotland, like it has in other European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.
“Already local councils employ community wardens to deal with local crime, and there’s no reason in principle why the administration of community police forces cannot also fall under the same local authority umbrella.”
He added: “Of course, this is just an idea, and it may not need to go this far.
“It might be possible to recreate proper local accountability within a single police force.
“However, for the benefit of the taxpayer, accountability and fighting crime it is an idea worth considering further, and something that will require further discussion and debate in the coming months.”