A top-level review of First Minister Alex Salmond's security is being conducted by police amid fears the current arrangements do not ensure his safety.

A senior officer has been drafted in to look at increasing security at Salmond's homes in Edinburgh and Aberdeenshire.

The Metropolitan Police provides "personal protection" for the Prime Minister, as well as certain government ministers and ambassadors.

Specialist officers travel with UK ministers to ensure their safety, but Salmond does not enjoy the same service.

It was revealed in 2010 that his Government driver, Roger Cherry, doubled as his bodyguard.

However, while providing Salmond with Cabinet-minister-style protection has been ruled out, a senior officer has been seconded to the Scottish Government to conduct a review.

A serving inspector at Police Scotland, who is believed to have worked for the now-defunct Lothian and Borders force for more than 20 years, focusing on public-order issues and dealing with firearms incidents, is in charge of the review.

It is understood his review will look at strengthening security at the First Minister's Bute House residence in Edinburgh, as well as his home in Strichen, while monitoring Salmond's safety when he goes walkabout will also be considered.

A source said there had not been any significant security concerns in the past, but the independence referendum meant that checks had to be put in place.

Stuart Crawford, a former lieutenant colonel in the British Army who is now a lobbyist, welcomed the review: "It's a sad fact of modern life that our political leaders sometimes come under threat of physical harm or attack. It's possible, although unlikely, that the low risk to our FM both at home and as he goes about his business could increase as the independence debate becomes increasingly heated.

"It's only sensible, then, that his security be reviewed, as should that of all public figures from time to time.

"Don't be surprised if Mr Salmond – and his successors in due course –are accompanied by dedicated police officers and/or security personnel in the future. And I dare say a few CCTV cameras around his house, with the appropriate local back-up, wouldn't go amiss either."

Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said: "This shows where the First Minister's priorities lie. We have cuts to support staff, which means police officers are behind desks instead of out on the beat, but he's more concerned about his own safety rather than that of communities across Scotland."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We do not comment on security issues."