today is the deadline for comments from the public and politicians over the controversial plan to close or cut back opening hours of police station counters across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
When Police Scotland bosses review the reaction, they should be left in no doubt about the strength of feeling against the planned changes.
It is heartening today to hear Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson tell us that he is listening to the public’s concerns.
Despite the relatively short period for representations, politicians, local residents, shopkeepers and business leaders have all backed the Evening News’ Save Our Stations campaign. We understand that change is inevitable and that the Dixon of Dock Green-style of policing no longer meets the needs of today’s society.
But while a service like this is in heavy demand, it should continue. The front desks under threat at ten stations across the Lothians are, after all, currently accessed by more than 100,000 people a year. We have no objection to counter resources moving from police stations to other community locations when there are good operational reasons for doing so, indeed it may well be the most sensible solution.
The communities involved, however, need to see the detail of the proposals, and crucially, the opening hours before the decision is taken.
People still want to deal with their local police officer face-to-face and it would be frankly ridiculous to remove that contact.
It is heartening to hear that the police will listen to the level of concern which has been expressed. The message today could hardly be clearer – Save Our Stations.