Scotland's Chief Constable has beefed up his international and borders policing units as he braces his force for Brexit.

Iain Livingstone is desperate to maintain crime-fighting links with the rest of the continent after the UK leaves the European Union, perhaps as early as the end of this month.

Senior officers and politicians have long warned about the dangers of losing access to Europol, the EU centre co-ordinating investigations and intelligence.

Now Mr Livingstone, writing in The Herald, has revealed he has been forced to bolster existing teams monitoring sea and airports and liaising across borders. That is because a Brexit that leaves the UK - and Scotland - locked out of bodies like Europol or schemes such as the European Arrest Warrant will mean far more red tape to carry out a hefty multi-national workload.

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Mr Livingstone wrote: "I value the role Europol has in assisting Scottish policing to coordinate investigations into serious and organised cross-border crime and terrorism. It is crucial that we maintain security relationships that enable us to combat shared threats to our citizens.

"There is the potential loss of some of our powers that we would normally use to engage with other countries, such as European Arrest Warrants.

"If we do lose some of the tools we currently use, we will require to utilise other existing legislation. It will, however, be more bureaucratic, lack uniformity across Europe and will be far more time consuming.

"With this in mind, we have been increasing the number of officers in our International Bureau to manage international enquiries."

"Officers are working with representatives from the International Crime Coordination Centre, the National Crime Agency and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to visit a range of EU and non-EU countries to achieve a framework for international liaison after Brexit.

"We are also increasing our people in Border Policing Command. These measures will ensure Scottish policing retains the maximum possible capability, while laying strong foundations for whatever the future may bring."

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Police Scotland has already put off planned reductions in officer numbers and run up bills of millions of pounds in to preparing for Brexit, including potential public order issues here and in Northern Ireland. It is seeking compensation from British authorities for extra costs.

Mr Livingstone, who is currently attending what he called a timely meeting of the European Police Chiefs’ Convention at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, added: "The Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Government have indicated their support in meeting the additional policing costs associated with Brexit."