AS a former chief inspector with Strathclyde Police and currently an Argyll and Bute councillor, I have followed with interest your reports on the target culture in Police Scotland ("Police reject targets request", The Herald, November 19).

I have raised concerns with the Scottish Police Authority that Police Scotland's target-led policing culture may be behind the proposal to cut the policing levels in Argyll and Bute, with in the short term two chief inspector posts (Oban, Lorn & the Isles and Campbeltown & the Isles) and one inspector's post (Isle of Bute) being cut. This in effect means that the highest rank covering the whole of the Lorn & Kintyre penisula and inner Hebrides will be an inspector.

It is my contention that the target-led culture being pursued by Police Scotland is impacting on the resource allocation model and negatively on the area I represent. The proposal to reduce officers in rural areas is in my view a means to redeploy these posts to urban areas where it is easier to meet the performance targets and thereby boost Police Scotland's crime figures.

These statistics allow the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to grandstand that the force is a success, when it is anything but. It seems preventative patrolling and policing in rural areas is being sacrificed to feed the force management team's target culture. Police Scotland appears to have a management culture of if it cannot be counted, it is not done.

As for senior management's hand-wringing denials about the target culture, they either know about case leagues that the Police Federation has told The Herald about and it is a part of their key performance indicators in their performance management strategy, or the case leagues that exist at a shift and station level are an aberration of their performance management system and they know nothing about it. Neither response endears confidence in Police Scotland's senior management.

Fred Hall,

Councillor Ward 4: Oban South and the Isles,

Rockhaven, Glenmore Road, Oban.