Police counter faces sports centre move

Linda Clarkson, from Colin's hairstylists, backs the News campaign. Picture:  Ian Georgeson

Linda Clarkson, from Colin's hairstylists, backs the News campaign. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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ANOTHER police station’s public counter is being lined up for a switch to a community hub.

Officers from Bonnyrigg will move into a sports centre – similar to plans for Craigmillar and Corstorphine – under controversial proposals. The Midlothian town’s station is set to lose its public counter – which is currently open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – due to its proximity to Dalkeith.

Officers would set up base in the Lasswade Centre, which is already host to a swimming pool and library.

Local politicians are split on the move, which comes amidst plans to axe front desks at five police stations in the Lothians.

Bonnyrigg Green councillor Ian Baxter said if the counter was to close, it would make sense to have a presence at the Lasswade Centre instead.

He said: “It would cut costs and at the same time we would still have somewhere accessible to the public.”

But Labour councillor Derek Milligan revealed the police had already turned down an ­offer when the centre was being built.

He said: “We offered space for the police to meet the public and they didn’t take it at that time. They said they believed the police station was strategically ­important.”

Cllr Milligan said he had “real concerns” over the proposals to shut public counters soon after a review which had ­reduced opening hours at several police stations in Midlothian.

He said: “Bonnyrigg was reviewed and deemed necessary to be open to the public. I understand they still plan to have admin staff based there, so I’m at a loss to understand where there is any financial benefit.”

Bonnyrigg and Lasswade Community Council chairman Darius Namdaran said he had looked at the Police Scotland figures – which showed that the public counter had been used 94 times in four weeks – and found most cases were ­between 1pm and 4pm.

He said the counter should be retained during its busiest hours.

He added: “What they have said is they will send police to people’s doors which sounds good in theory but we’ve found people don’t want it.”

Linda Clarkson, a hairdresser at Colin’s, on the High Street, said: I don’t think they should close the counter at all.

“Bonnyrigg is getting bigger and bigger and it needs its own police station.”

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How you can help

Back the campaign by displaying a poster and signing the petition, which is already available to sign at several locations including:

• The Mill at St Joseph’s, the cafe beside Balerno Parish Church;

• Balerno Garage Ltd, Deanpark Brae;

• Sideburns Barber Shop, Oxgangs Broadway, Oxgangs;

• Craigmillar Post Office, Niddrie Mains Road.

To receive a petition and poster e-mail kate.pickles@jpress.co.uk or call 0131-620 8733, or call into the offices at 108 Holyrood Road.

You can also download a poster by clicking here

Email the following to SoS@edinburghnews.com along with your name and address

“Dear Sir Stephen House,

I want my local police station to stay open to the public. Please think again.”