Police Scotland are proposing changes to public counter opening times at several police stations across the Lothians and Scottish Borders following a nationwide review.
The proposals, which are aimed at providing a consistent and more efficient service in local communities, have been made following careful analysis of the level of use of public counter services in the Division.
There has been a significant reduction in the use of public counter services in Scotland in recent years as alternative means of contacting police have developed and crime rates have fallen.
These trends prompted Police Scotland to carry out a review in all 14 Divisions across the country, in order to identify opportunities that would make better use of local resources, and provide a consistent level of service for communities.
The current proposals affecting the Lothians and Scottish Borders, which are subject to staff consultation, recognise the reduction in the use of public counter services at several stations across the division, and propose changes to opening times in line with demand.
Chief Superintendent Jeanette McDiarmid, Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, said:
As alternative means of engaging with the police have developed and crime rates have fallen, the use of public counter services has reduced markedly, and it is entirely correct that we take account of this as we seek to make best use of our resources.
The proposals affecting the Lothians and Scottish Borders have taken consideration of geographical locations and demand analysis and whilst we will be reducing hours at some stations there will be an increase at others.
Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe, and these proposals will allow us to deliver a more consistent and professional service across the Lothians and Scottish Borders Division, taking the changes in customer demand into consideration.
Alternative methods of contacting police have also been introduced including the launch of the non-emergency ‘101’ number, mobile police stations, local community police surgeries and a non-emergency diary appointment service, providing a police response at a time and date convenient to the individual.
It is also important to emphasise that police officers will still be based in those stations affected, providing the same high level of service to local communities across the division.
As well as considering public counter opening hours, the Police Scotland review also looked at traffic warden provision, leading to a proposal that traffic warden services are withdrawn across the country, giving local authorities the opportunity to take responsibility for enforcing parking legislation. This, again, is subject to staff consultation.
Chief Superintendent McDiarmid said:
Changes to legislation in relation to most parking offences means there is no longer a requirement for enforcement to be carried out by police, and as a result, a proposal has now been made to withdraw the traffic warden service across the Lothians and Scottish Borders in keeping with other areas of Scotland. However, Police will continue to deal with road traffic offences including dangerous parking.
We recognise the impact that all of the proposals being made as a result of the nationwide review will have on our staff, and we are consulting with them on available options, including alternative roles within the organisation.
Police Scotland responded to media coverage yesterday by saying that there is absolutely no intention to close Police Stations, this review is about the hours that public counters within Police Stations are open.
Further details, including a report in relation to proposals affecting the Lothians and Scottish Borders, can be accessed through the following link: