Police chiefs have admitted an international climate summit in Glasgow this year could pull officers away from the day-to-day beat in the north-east and Highlands.
The Cop26 summit, due to take place in November, will likely be the largest policing operation since the 2012 Olympics in London.
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said the scale of the event means officers from other forces in the UK will need to be brought in under Police Scotland’s command.
The potential arrival of world leaders like US President Joe Biden and Pope Francis could escalate the event significantly, he said.
Moray MP Douglas Ross asked Mr Higgins if the 11-day event would have an impact on day-to-day policing in Scotland.
Major draw on resources
Mr Ross, speaking at the Scottish Affairs Committee, said: “Do you think it’s honest and upfront to say that we’re looking at business as usual during this pandemic for other parts of Scotland?
“If 60% of the policing is going to come from within Police Scotland, it’s a long COP26 period – 11 days and there will be time before and after where there’s an involvement with the police – is it being honest to communities like Moray to say it will absolutely be business as usual?
“Or should we understand that there will be a limitation in terms of what the police can do because of this major draw on the resources nationwide?”
Mr Higgins responded: “What we are trying to achieve is to minimise the impact as far as reasonably practical on business as usual.
“We have cancelled annual leave for that period, officers will no doubt be working beyond their normal hours, but I cannot give an absolute guarantee that there won’t be some impact on business as usual.”
He added: “What I can guarantee is our strategic objective is to try to the best of our ability to minimise any impact it will have on business as usual and absolutely things like 999 calls, assistance calls, they absolutely need to be prioritised and continued to be responded to as promptly as we currently do.”