SCOTLAND'S new national police head-quarters could be sited on the banks of the Clyde.

Speculation has been fuelled by a £16million grant from the Scottish Government for a major office development to be built in Glasgow's East End.

The windfall means construction can begin in a few weeks with 120,000 sq ft of high-quality office accomm-odation ready for use by the end of next year.

The four-acre site at Dalmarnock is where Strath-clyde Police was to have located its new HQ.

But the move was shelved after the Scottish Government decided to introduce a single police force north of the border to replace the country's eight separate police forces.

Although the location of the headquarters for the single force will be officially decided by the new Scottish Police Authority over the next few months, sources have told the Evening Times that the river-bank site is expected to host the new HQ.

One insider said: "There is little doubt that senior police officers will occupy this development. This building is seen as being nationally, regionally significant.

"It will be used as the new headquarters of the single police force or a regional police centre."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has previously said he would prefer to see the new national headquarters at the police training college at Tulliallan, Perthshire, but also recognises the "regeneration benefits of a significant new police building in Dalmarnock" as part of plans by the Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company for the area.

Sources say there is also a recognition within government circles that a new HQ on the banks of the Clyde would offer senior officers easier access to Scotland's motorways.

Clyde Gateway chief executive Ian Manson said: "I am confident this particular office, being of such high quality and in a waterfront location, will generate huge interest and attract a significant anchor tenant."

The site is within walking distance of Glasgow Green and near the 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes' Village, Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

The new office development will cost up to £25m and protect 300 construction jobs.

The grant of £16m is part of a package totalling £21.2m. Elsewhere, £5.2m was allocated to the Irvine Bay Urban Regen-eration Company to help build a medial centre in Ardrossan, and provide industrial and office space in Irvine, both North Ayrshire.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the projects would "support jobs and growth".

Regarding the new riverbank building, a Scottish Govern-ment said: "We can't comment on its future use."