IT is a real-life storyline that is ­demanding the attention of the ­country's leading crime writers.

Authors from Ian Rankin to Craig Robertson are having to rethink their approach to Scotland's police since the country's eight forces were merged to form one single national service.

East Lothian writer Ed James says building contacts with force officials has intensified as writers work to reflect the changes in real-life policing.

For his latest book, Bottleneck, James has researched the change to help help with the writing of his story about ex-Lothian and Borders officer Scott Cullen who investigates a cross-jurisdiction murder case under the new single force. Fellow crime authors Robertson and Glasgow's Alex Gray have experienced similar "transition" issues.

James said: "The changeover has definitely altered the landscape for Scotland's crime writers and I don't think anyone writing contemporary police procedurals can avoid it much longer. Like real-life officers, our fictional equivalents are having to deal with the upheaval and all the conflicts that go with major operational change."