Police chiefs under fire over services

A Liberal Democrat has accused police chiefs of turning their backs on Aberdeenshire communities.

North-east MSP Alison McInnes criticised Police Scotland after it was revealed that public counters at police stations across the region are set to reduce their opening hours or close entirely.

The public counter at the police station in Ellon, currently open between 9am and 10pm, Monday to Friday, is set to close at 5pm instead.

The nationwide review of public counters recommended that 65 stations across Scotland – one in three - close their front desks.

Ms McInnes, the party’s justice spokesperson, said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats repeatedly warned of the risks of centralising our police forces. The police have turned their backs on many North East communities and local policing is being eroded.

“The proposed closure of 65 public counters in police stations across Scotland could have a real impact on long-established links between police and our communities.

“People rightly value being able to report issues directly to their local police station. Now it seems that some people will have no option but to make a phone call to a remote call centre and speak to an operator who will not boast the same depth of local knowledge as our local officers.

“After decades of building a reputation as the stewards of the community, our local police risk becoming a faceless organisation. Coming so soon after it was announced that fire control rooms across Scotland will close, communities will understandably be worried about what will be next.”