Edinburgh police ditch plan to axe public counters

South Queensferry police station is set to keep its current opening hours. Picture: Scott Taylor

South Queensferry police station is set to keep its current opening hours. Picture: Scott Taylor

7
Have your say

POLICE chiefs have scrapped plans to axe two of the public counters they wanted to close as part of a multi-million pound cuts programme.

POLICE chiefs have scrapped plans to axe two of the public counters they wanted to close as part of a multi-million pound cuts programme.

Following an Evening News campaign and a huge public outcry, South Queensferry and Linlithgow police stations are now set to remain open to the public – and campaigners have called for a similar U-turn on the other closure proposals which are still under review.

Police Scotland announced last month it planned to close front desks at ten Lothian stations and slash opening hours at ten more. Across the country, it aimed to save £4.2 million.

But in a new report to the Scottish Police Authority, it withdraws the closure plans at five stations across Scotland. Under the revised proposal, South Queensferry and Linlithgow would both retain their current opening hours of 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Keith Giblett, chairman of Queensferry and District community council, said he was “ecstatic” at the decision.

He said: “I’m delighted they have listened to the views that were put to them.”

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart said it was a “massive victory” for all those who had campaigned and lobbied for a change of heart. He said: “There is a feeling in places like South Queensferry that you don’t get much for your council tax payments, so when a proposal like this comes up, there is a strong backlash.”

Lothian Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “Thanks to all the attention generated by the threat of closure, I’m very pleased Police Scotland have considered the evidence and decided this is an important service these communities need. I hope they will review the other proposals as carefully.

“I’m sure if there had not been such interest from the public Police Scotland would not have recognised the strength of feeling around this issue.”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who campaigned against the cutbacks in West Lothian, said: “This is a real victory for public opinion over these ridiculous cuts. The response to the campaign was overwhelming.

“Police Scotland and the Scottish Government should now halt the counter closures at West Calder and Armadale. These are growing towns that need a police presence.”