The Northern Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for Northern Scotland, covering the Highland - Council areas of Scotland along with the Western Isles, the Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles, which comprise most of the Highlands and Islands area. It is the police force covering the largest geographical area in the United Kingdom, equivalent to the size of Belgium, but is one of the smallest in terms of officers, with about 715 officers.
The current police force was formed on 16 May 1975 as a merger of the pre-existing Northern Constabulary, the Ross and Sutherland Constabulary (itself a merger of Ross and Cromarty Constabulary and Sutherland Constabulary) and the Inverness Constabulary (a merger of Inverness Burgh Police and Inverness-shire Constabulary), along with the northernmost portion of the Argyll County Police area, and the Nairn part of the Scottish North East Counties Constabulary. The previous Northern Constabulary had been created in 1969 by the merger of the Caithness Constabulary, Orkney Constabulary and Zetland Constabulary.
The new Northern Constabulary was created at the same time as Local government of Scotland reorganisation created the Highland Regions and districts of Scotland council and the Island council areas of Scotland of the Western Isles, the Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles. The rest of the Argyll County Police was merged into the Strathclyde Police, and the rest of the Scottish North East Counties Constabulary into the Grampian Police.
The Northern Constabulary area is also the area covered by the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service.
Divisions & Area CommandsEdit
Northern Constabulary is split in to three Divisions which are North, Central and East. In these three Divisions there are eight Area Commands, each with their own Area Commander. The Area Commands are:
- Caithness Sutherland & East Ross
- Ross & Cromarty
- Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh
- Western Isles
- Badenoch, Strathspey & Nairn
Until the early 21st century, the uniform consisted of a white shirt, black tie and a stab-proof vest. Northern Constabulary was the last police force in Scotland using shirts and ties. In 2009, the uniform changed to become similar to that of other police forces of Scotland: black shirt with force logo, stab-proof vest and black trousers.