An enhanced emergency services partnership has been launched in a Highland Perthshire town.
Police have moved out of their ageing premises at Aberfeldy and into accommodation at the town’s fire station.
The facility will also be a base for new safer communities warden Norma Carr, whose post is being jointly funded by Perth and Kinross Council and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
The move, which was formally launched on Friday by local MSP John Swinney, will focus on several priority areas, as identified with the help from community councillors. These include violence against women, fly tipping and graffiti.
Crews will also work to set up a resilience group and work with young people and traders. If successful, similar practices could be rolled out in other areas.
Councillor Douglas Pover, convener of the council’s community safety committee, said: “This is an important development for the wardens service.
“By being in a position to work closely with colleagues in the police and fire service, the service being provided to the residents in Aberfeldy will be greatly improved.
“Residents will know exactly where to go for help and we will be able to speak to the right person.”
He added: “This new arrangement will be the perfect test for establishing just how well sharing services works and could become a blueprint for other communities moving forward.”
Senior fire officer Colin Grieve said: “This initiative has been developed with our partners in Perth and Kinross Council, Police Scotland and most importantly the community in Aberfeldy.
“By working together and enabling our fire station to become a wider community safety hub for the town, it demonstrates how we can share services and resources more effectively to reduce risk, prevent injuries and harm to improve the lives and safety of local people.
“This includes those in our rural communities across Scotland to meet the challenges of integrated public service delivery with our communities.”
Police sergeant Amanda Nicolson added: “Community wardens are often the eyes and ears of the community, with their contribution elsewhere in Perth and Kinross having been a great success, all of which makes the arrival of a dedicated warden in Aberfeldy eagerly anticipated.”
Victor Clements, who chairs the local community council, said: “It is early days, so want to keep Norma’s remit fairly wide. She will be speaking to people and establishing the detail of what she might get involved in.
“It is really important for people to remember she is not a police office and can’t deal with crime as such.”
He added: “She will however work closely with the police. The funding for this post is for two years and after that, if we want the role to continue, we will need to raise the money ourselves.”
The old police station in Kenmore Street is now on the market with a £35,000 price tag.