A SENIOR police chief with almost three decades worth of experience policing in Northern Ireland has warned of a "challenges" amid rising numbers of Orange and Republican marches in Scotland.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr made his comments as it was revealed that the number of parades in Scotland rose by almost 20% last year from around 1500 to 1800.

It was also confirmed than more than 500 officers were deployed to cover just one march in Glasgow in September.

The announcements were made at a board meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) in Edinburgh yesterday.

The top cop warned that "residual tensions" from last year's parading season - during which a number of high-profile marches were in the spotlight - would likely spill over to this year - causing an impact on policing resources.

DCC Kerr joined Police Scotland in 2018 after serving 27 years policing in Northern Ireland.

READ MORE: Police Scotland could face 'staffing crisis' in 2020 amid high-profile events

As part of his work there, he held a number of key command-level posts including covering all key events and parades in Belfast from 2012 to 2014.

He told the meeting: "There has been a very significant increase in parades.

"The parading season in 2019 ended with some significant tension - some of those events were very resource intensive for us.

"One or two of the parades in particular in September in Glasgow took over 500 officers to police individual events."

He added that his intuition - based on the "surprising" fact that Glasgow hosts more parades over the season than Belfast - tells him "it will be a challenging year.

"And that again adds to the resourcing pressures for us in the run up to COP26."

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told the meeting that a "force reserve" of around 400 officers was maintained" last year - allowing Police Scotland "the operational flexibility to respond quickly and effectively to policing the needs across the whole of the country during periods of acute demand".

This reserve force, he revealed, was deployed during a number of marches last year.

We previously told how official figures show that policing two Irish Republican marches and subsequent protests in Glasgow on September 7 cost taxpayers at least £176,000.

The force said around 1000 Republican marchers and Loyalist protesters met that day and a “significant deployment” of officers, including riot police, mounted officers and the force helicopter, were on the scene.

Glasgow City Council later took action to ban marches before reverting on the decision.