Police chiefs urged to reconsider public counter closures

Ellon Police Station
Ellon Police Station

A North-east politician has urged police chiefs to reconsider controversial plans to close office counters.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes issued her call as consultation on the proposals ends today (Thursday).

In her submission to Police Scotland, the North East MSP highlighted that community councils had not been informed of the changes to policing in their local area.

Police Scotland have been running a short consultation on their plans which would see 70 police counters shut their doors to the public.

Liberal Democrats have criticised the short timeframe for the consultation and warned that a number of people could be excluded from the process which is being run through email.

Alison McInnes has called for a full and formal consultation on the changes.

She says: “These proposals could have a real impact upon long-established links between police and our communities.

“I believe they will lead to the erosion of community policing, a scaling back of the permanent presence of local police officers in local communities, and risk turning Police Scotland into a faceless organisation.

“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 local officers.”

Her submission continues: “I also understand that community councils have not been informed of the changes in their local areas or invited to comment.

“Indeed, I have already been told of a number that would like to have received a formal invitation to comment on the proposals and to be advised of future progress.

“Will Police Scotland therefore write to community councils across Scotland to ensure that, as the most local tier of statutory representation, they are informed of developments and aware of the current opportunity to submit their comments for consideration?”

The MSP also called for the consultation findings to be made public.”