The first chairmen of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Police Authority have been appointed.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be chaired by former president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) Pat Watters, while Vic Emery has been appointed chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA). Vic is currently the convener of the Police Services Authority and Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

Both appointments start in September 2012 and will run for three years.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said that both chairs have "outstanding track records in public and private service" and would be "steady hands on the tiller". However, he stressed that they would not interfere in operational matters, but instead hold the chief constable and chief fire officer to account and to work with other board members.

Commenting on the appointments, Lewis McDonald, Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, said: "Kenny MacAskill resisted amendments throughout the progress of the Police and Fire Act which would have guaranteed members of the Scottish Police Authority had experience of local government and represented the whole of Scotland.

"In appointing Vic Emery as the first chair of the Scottish Police Authority, Kenny MacAskill has chosen a candidate with the relevant experience but someone who is also seen as an insider.

"It is now all the more important that other board members do represent local government. I would also like to welcome Pat Watters to his role."