It’s the end of an era for central Scotland’s own police and fire services as they begin their final days of operation.
From Monday, April 1 Central Scotland Police and Central Scotland Fire & Rescue Service, both of which have served the Falkirk district since 1975, will cease to exist.
Their responsibilities will be transferred to two new nationwide organisations, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
But the men taking charge of policing and fire safety in the Falkirk district insist that it will be business as usual, and despite the new national framework, community engagement will be at the forefront of their work.
They met with councillors on Tuesday to discuss the local policing and fire plans for the next year.
Chief Superintendent David Flynn, the new Forth Valley division commander for Police Scotland, said: “It’s important that this is recognised as a Falkirk plan. We have worked hard to ensure that it meets the needs of the area, although it is part of a wider national framework.
“It is also an interim plan. We’ll soon begin work on a more detailed three-year plan.”
Following a consultation exercise undertaken in December, six policing priorities were identified for Falkirk.
These are: anti-social behaviour, such as disorder and violence; serious crime; tackling domestic abuse, road policing and road crime; protecting the public; and community confidence and engagement.
In addition to the district-wide blueprint, there will also be nine individual community plans. These will cover the same wards as existing council areas.
Chief Inspector Alan Waddell, the new Falkirk area commander, said that communities could be confident that their voices would be heard when it came to identifying policing priorities.
Councillor Craig R Martin, convener of the environment and community safety committee, said: “While we may not have all agreed with the creation of single police and fire services, it is now our priority to ensure that it is business as usual, and having read this report, I’m sure it will be.”
SNP councillor David Alexander said: “I see a strong element of continuity in this report. One of my concerns was that community policing would not be enshrined in legislation – but it has.”
Officers from both national police and fire services will continue to appear before Falkirk Council committees.