POLICE station cutbacks have come under fire after it emerged one of the proposed closures involves withdrawing from a community hub – which the force promotes as its preferred model elsewhere.
Police Scotland argues that basing officers in the same premises as council and health services helps keep them at the heart of the community.
But now it plans to give up the room the police were allocated at the partnership centre in Fauldhouse, which also houses GPs, a dentist, a pharmacy, a gym, a swimming pool, housing office and library services. Ten Lothian police stations are on the list for possible closure. As in previous reviews, the police have talked of relocating to community hubs to make it easier for public contact.
In Midlothian, stations at Gorebridge, Loanhead, Bonnyrigg and Newbattle could all go and be replaced by a police presence at a planned new council hub in Bonnyrigg.
Lothian MSP Neil Findlay said Livingston was often quoted as an example of the benefit of joint working by the police and other services in community facilities.
But in Fauldhouse – where the police said its accommodation was “not fit for purpose” – the force seemed to be turning its back on the model.
He said: “They closed the police station in Fauldhouse some years ago and they were given a room in the partnership centre. The police were involved in designing it and saying what space they required.
“Here is a community where the station shut in order to facilitate multi-agency working which the government promotes and yet Police Scotland is now proposing to withdraw the service.
“Whatever they say about the suitability of buildings, this closure programme represents just another hollowing out of local services.”
The police said they would continue to visit the partnership centre but would not have anyone based there.
Area commander Chief Inspector Barry Blair said: “The room within the Fauldhouse partnership centre is currently not used by police as it does not meet the needs of the local community officers.
“We continue to pay a small fee towards the building and have use of it as a touchdown base and to work with partners.
“Police also have use of the local Post Office within ScotMid which is being used for weekly surgeries and drop-in sessions.”