MORAY and Aberdeenshire will be stronger together, according to the officer in charge of policing them.
The areas will join to form one of the 14 divisions in the new Police Scotland force which will come into operation on April 1.
Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City currently form the Grampian Police area.
There had been concerns that Moray might lose out when it was announced that Chief Supt Mark McLaren, currently officer in charge of Aberdeenshire, was appointed head of the joint command area.
However, Moray commander, Supt Mark Cooper, will take on the role of deputy to Chief Supt McLaren, who becomes local police commander for the joint division.
The two head officers will split their time between both areas, based mainly in Elgin and Inverurie, with Chief Insp Willie Findlay remaining in Moray.
Chief Supt McLaren said: “There will be a much bigger haul of resources, so we will be stronger together than we are apart.
“In Moray there are just over 200 officers; add them to the 400 in Aberdeenshire and it makes us a big player in Scottish police terms.”
He said that in addition to about 100 support staff, the new division had around 80 special constables it could call upon, as well as more than 110 vehicles, not including the roads policing fleet.
“I think we are particularly fortunate in the North-east,” said Chief Supt McLaren. “Crime rates are low and we have good relationships with local communities, which is fundamental to successful policing.”
He added that three years ago the policing model changed from a reactionary approach to the introduction of local policing teams, which saw officers regularly attending community council and forum meetings.
Chief Supt McLaren said: “I believe that we are becoming much closer to our communities. We know about the issues that are important to them.”