The proposed creation of single police and fire services in Scotland would put them at the “heart of communities”, according to justice secretary Kenny MacAskill.
Mr MacAskill is currently in the Borders to launch the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will merge Scotland’s eight police forces and eight fire safety services into two single national bodies.
Under the plans, a local policing commander and senior fire officer would be assigned for each local authority area and have a statutory duty to provide adequate local services.
Mr MacAskill said: “Local authorities will approve plans for their area and, rather than a handful of councillors attending a regional board, many more councillors will have a say in what happens in their area.
“I expect to see the local commander and local senior officer coming before the council to explain and answer questions about police and fire services in the area.”
One of the key benefits of the move is the potential cost-savings offered by the move, with Mr MacAskill claiming it will deliver savings of £1.7 billion over 15 years.
The new organisations will be known as the Scottish Police Authority and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.