Police Scotland close 140 stations as grassroots leaders slam the closures saying people are ‘less likely to contact the cops’
POLICE Scotland has closed 140 police stations as part of a cost-cutting since regional forces merged with the national body, it was revealed last night.
Grassroots leaders have denounced the closures and warned that it means people – especially in rural areas – are less likely to contact the cops.
And it is feared that further Holyrood cuts to the police ‘capital’ budget – to pay for things like buildings – could mean further pressure on the force to close more stations in years to come.
Among the locations closed since 2013 are a list of Hamish McBeth-style stations attached to homes in the Scottish countryside, such as Robert Carlyle’s Village Cop, the fictional TV town of Lochdubh.
The figures were compiled by Justice and Social Affairs 1919 magazine, supported by the Scottish Police Federation.
Last night, SPF boss Calum Steele said: ‘I have spent the last few weeks talking to members of the public, councillors, MSPs, MPs and our own members on this very subject.
“Without exception, they see entrenchment in more urban centers as having a detrimental impact on policing in remote and rural areas, with many communities no longer phoning the police as they have little confidence in a meaningful response. .
“This is a devastating assessment and the officers and communities in remote and rural parts of Scotland deserve far better.”
Among the list of 140 is Lairg Police Station in Sutherland – now listed as ‘under offer’ after the price was reduced to offers above £195,000.
A resort on the tiny Shetland island of Whalsay is another victim of the cuts – currently being sold for £25,000.
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Former Carradale Police Station in Kintyre is being flogged for £110,000, Former Brora Police Office was sold in 2020 for £31,750, despite an asking price of £95,000, records show.
Also on the list is Taynuilt’s office and police house in Argyll – put on the market in 2018 for bids of over £220,000.
Scotland’s Conservative shadow justice secretary Jamie Greene said the scale of the closures showed a ‘cynical attempt to save money’ by the Scottish government, which he said had ‘undoubtedly returned our streets less secure”.
Lib Dem justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: ‘Having police officers based across the country is essential for community policing and the closure of so many posts risks reducing the ability to make this model work effectively. .”
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Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said: “Some buildings are no longer in the right place, are not operationally suitable and are not designed in a way that allows us to work alongside key delivery partners.”
Last year it emerged that Police Scotland made £28.5million by selling 96 properties.
At the time, another 26 were either being offered or on the market, being prepared for sale or for proposed community transfer.
Since then, three other police stations have closed, and staff have been moved to municipal buildings. The leases of 15 others were also terminated or discharged.
We have already explained how the SNP-Green budget cuts mean that Police Scotland face a shortfall of nearly £50million this year for capital spending.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The police investment budget has more than doubled since 2017/18, supporting continued investment in policing.
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