A NATIONAL police unit to patrol Scotland's roads is being created as part of the new single force.

The reshaping of roads policing will see the creation of the Trunk Roads Patrol Unit.

This will be reinforced by local units in all 14 divisions of Police Scotland, which becomes operational in April.

It is hoped the move will increase police presence and deter criminal activity on the roads as well as improving public safety and reducing road fatalities.

Chief Constable Steve House unveiled the plans as he inspected one of the group's motorway patrol cars in Stirling, which was badged with the single force's new logo.

The national unit will patrol motorways and major roads from 10 bases across Scotland.

There are currently about 600 road patrol constables and that number is expected to stay the same, but a third of them will make up the trunk roads team.

Mr House said: "By creating a new national roads policing unit with bases across the country, we can raise our visibility across some of our busiest roads, encouraging responsible driver behaviour and tackling those who make the roads less safe for others.

"We have looked at how roads policing is resourced and we are changing that a little bit to focus effectively on where we see casualty hot spots to make sure we are putting the resources where they need to be."

Mr House said the move would reinforce local policing, with divisional commanders having their own traffic unit.

Work is under way to rebrand police vehicles with the new logo, left.

The force said the work is part of routine maintenance and will cost less than £100,000.

Armed police response vehicles will work separately from the roads units as part of a move to increase specialist cover, the chief constable said.

It was announced last month that a network of armed units will be deployed across the country for the first time, to give the same level of protection to all areas.

Every division of the new single force will have access to the response units, which will be based at hubs across Scotland.