Stonehaven police office has escaped the fate of 65 other police stations across Scotland which face having their public counters closed.
North East MSP Alison McInnes this week criticised Police Scotland for turning its back on many North East communities after it was revealed that public counters at police stations across the region are set to reduce their opening hours or close entirely.
However the Stonehaven office will only be having its public opening hours altered. It is proposed that the office will open to the public from 7am to midnight instead of 8am to 1am.
Mrs McInnes, who is also the Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson, said: “This announcement might give some reassurance to the people of Stonehaven who were concerned that the local police office might be under threat given that the adjoining sheriff court is due to be closed by the Scottish Government.”
The nationwide review of police office public counters has recommended that 69 stations across Scotland close or share their front desk. Mrs McInnes commented: “Scottish Liberal Democrats repeatedly warned of the risks of centralising our police forces. The police are turning 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 – including eight in the North East – 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 have the same depth of local knowledge as 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 local courts and fire control rooms across Scotland will close, communities will understandably be worried about what will be next.”
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison noted that Portlethen polcie office was not affected by the changes. “It does not have a public office, so there is not change, I know officers will answer the door if they are available, but it is not staffed continuosuly.”