The force was created on 16 May 1975 as part of the restructuring of local government in Scotland. The police area matched the boundaries of the new Strathclyde Regional Council, which was broken up in 1996. It was formed from, either in whole or in part:
- City of Glasgow Police
- Lanarkshire Constabulary
- Renfrew & Bute Constabulary
- Dunbartonshire Constabulary
- Argyll County Police
- Ayrshire Constabulary
- small portion of Stirling and Clackmannan Police
The divisions which covered Lanarkshire were ‘N’, ‘P’ and ‘Q’.
The force remained in existence, with various boundary changes, until 1 April 2013 when it became part of Police Scotland.