Readers rally against police counter cuts

Nicky Gardiner, 21, who works at the New Plough pub in Tranent, signs the petition. Picture: Jane Barlow

Nicky Gardiner, 21, who works at the New Plough pub in Tranent, signs the petition. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Have your say

SUPPORT for the Save Our Stations campaign has flooded in with angry opponents flocking to sign petitions about planned cuts to counter services.

Our mailbox has been flooded by hundreds of coupons sent by worried readers against the proposals by single force chiefs at Police Scotland.

And more than 30 businesses across the Lothians are now backing the campaign by putting up posters and petitions to raise the profile and give people their say.

With petitions filling up in hours, the total number of people supporting our hard-hitting campaign is well into four figures. The fight to keep stations open has also received political support with MSPs, MPs and councillors giving it their backing. Under the plans, three Capital police stations – Oxgangs, Balerno and South Queensferry – will close their public counters altogether, while two others – Craigmillar and Corstorphine – will transfer their operations to local community hubs.

Three more stations – Portobello, Howdenhall and West End – will have their opening hours cut. Stations at Bonnyrigg, Tranent, Linlithgow, Armadale and West Calder will also close their front counters.
Cathy Lear, 46, manager of Balerno’s Malleny Arms, was one of the first to back the Evening News campaign.

She said: “It has had a really good response so far. People have been asking what it’s all about and I’ve been happy to tell them. I think it is really important that we fight to keep them open. They are an important part of the community and they would be missed by a lot of people.

“We’ve always got on well with the police in Balerno and it’s good to know we have a station that’s just down the road.”

The cuts are planned across the Lothians, despite figures showing more than 100,000 people a year use the stations that are due to have their public counters axed. It is estimated the changes will lose 830 opening hours to the public across the Lothians.

Our hard-hitting campaign has struck a chord with residents horrified at the closures with many viewing people power as the only way to get police chiefs to listen.

Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said she had sent out 2000 letters to people in Portobello, alerting them to the plans to reduce opening hours for the police station counter, and had already received 148 replies.
“They have been flying back in,” she said. “And we have had only one so far that supports the proposals. There is a real strength of opinion in support of police stations remaining open to the public. People have been writing back, spelling out why it matters to them, and I hope the police will listen to it seriously.”

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Police counter cuts: Community fears being cut off

Police ‘must listen over station counters cuts’

Balerno residents slam police counter closure plan

Politicians back bid to save police stations

Crime rising as police station counters closed

Ten police stations in Lothians to be axed

Frank Boyle cartoon: the effect of police station closures

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.”