By Christine Lavelle
SCOTLAND’S largest police force is planning to get more officers out working on the streets in a bid to bring back “old style policing”.
Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Stephen House said five times more constables will go back on the beat.
The number of officers on patrol every day would rise from 500 to 2,600 across 194 beats, in the plans which were described as “old-style policing with a hard edge”.
They will be backed by 2,000 other officers who will only respond to 999 emergencies in the region between Glasgow and Argyll.
Mr House said: “We are giving the public what they want and demand – more officers on the street to reduce the fear of crime and make people feel safer.”
He said the move, set to come into force next Monday, can be achieved through a re-think of shift patterns and how officers are deployed.
He said: “We have surveyed each area and asked people what they want from the police.
“The biggest issue seems to be drunk and disorderly behaviour, drug misuse and speeding.
“We will also be using the community officers to monitor known sex offenders and domestic abusers. We take domestic abuse very seriously as an offence.
“It will be a local policing service for the community.
“They will be there when they are needed, whether it is 4am or 4pm.
“However, it won’t be a tea and biscuits approach.
“It will be hard-edged.
“The officers are also being moved to 10-hour days because we have them for longer each day.
“It’s a scheme that has officers’ support as they get more days off.”
The plan comes as British police forces are facing massive budget cuts and job losses.
Hundreds of officers will be ordered out of their office jobs to create the two dedicated teams.
As discussions continue about merging the country’s police forces, it is thought that the seven other Scottish forces could consider copying the plans.