Police and the public will be questioned by MSPs about whether or not policing in Scotland has improved since the new national force was set up last year.

Members of Holyrood's Justice Sub-Committee on Policing are to carry out a series of special visits to communities across Scotland, with the first of these taking place today.

Convener Christine Grahame said: "There has been much comment that local policing is under attack, with proposed closures of police counters and an apparent rise in stop-and-searches. We want to hear first-hand from the police on the frontline and in the back rooms if local policing is for better or worse, or if there has been no change since Police Scotland was created."

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The national police force, Police Scotland, was formed on April 1 last year, with the country's eight regional forces coming together to set up the new body. Since then, plans have been announced to close public counters at 65 of the country's 214 stations in an attempt to offer "value for money".

The sub-committee is keen to find out if local police services have improved, remained the same or worsened since Police Scotland was established nine months ago, as well as whether there has been any change in approach.

MSPs will speak to police divisional management teams and community and response officers to find out more about the impact of the changes. The sub-committee will also hold talks with local communities and Victim Support.