More than 50 Scottish police stations ‘under threat of closure’

Leith Police station, Constitution Street, Edinburgh. Picture Toby William.
Leith Police station, Constitution Street, Edinburgh. Picture Toby William.
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Police Scotland is considering the future of 58 police stations across the country as part of a review of its estate.

The buildings potentially under threat include those in Carnoustie, Broughty Ferry, Leith, Hawick, Oban, Campbeltown, Port Glasgow, Ayr, Hamilton and Larkhall.

Details of the plans emerged through a freedom of information request following revelations last month that a question mark hung over eight stations in Dumfries and Galloway.

The force said some of the existing estate no longer fits the demands of policing in 2016.

But opposition MSPs have voiced concerns, with Conservative community safety spokesman Oliver Mundell saying: “When police station front counters were closed a couple of years ago, it was promised that police stations would stay open.

“Police stations are not like bank branches – it’s not about how many customers are using them, it’s about ensuring a safe and reassuring presence in the community.

“Ripping police stations out of communities is going to make that even harder, and erode the police presence in communities right across the country.”

Labour justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “Under the SNP, Police Scotland faces a £27 million revenue budget overspend. SNP ministers can no longer bury their head in the sand and claim that this will not have an impact on local policing.

“The overspend is forcing Police Scotland’s hand and the potential closure of local stations is just the next step for a force desperately trying to make ends meet.”

An estate strategy published last year by the force said more effective use of its buildings “may not result in Police Scotland being located in less premises, but it should reduce floor space occupied by 10 to 25 per cent”.

The force estimated the move could generate annual revenue savings of between £5m and £18m, with the potential to raise between £22m and £34m through property sales.

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Cowie said: “The existing estate has evolved over the course of the last 100 years and in some cases it no longer fits the demands of 2016, or the needs of communities.

“It makes little sense to maintain old and expensive buildings when smaller, more collaborative options may be available.”

He stressed that any future decisions will follow local consultation with communities.

Police stations under review:

North: Broughty Ferry, Bridge of Earn, Stanley, Letham, Muirhead, Carnoustie.

East: Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan, Bo’ness, Bainsford, Tullibody, Anstruther, Edinburgh High Street, Leith, Armadale, Fauldhouse, Blackburn, Gorebridge, Loanhead, Hawick, Haddington, Bonnyrigg, Newbattle.

West: Pollockshaws, Barrhead, Giffnock, Erskine, Gourock, Lochwinnoch, Port Glagow, Kilmacolm, Carradale, Lochgilphead, Taynuilt, Campbeltown, Inverary, Oban, Blantyre, Carluke, Larkhall, Lesmahagow, Shotts, Hamilton, Rutherglen, Biggar, Cambuslang, Ayr, Galston, Kilwinning, Largs, Dalry (Dumfries and Galloway), Dalbeattie, Gretna, Kirkcudbright, Langholm, Moffat, Thornhill, Whithorn.