Copshaw police station sale slammed

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ONE of the Borders’ leading police officers has defended his force’s decision to close its Newcastleton station after a Borders MSP slammed the lack of public consultation, writes Kenny Paterson.

The move, along with the selling-off of the facilities in West Linton and Innerleithen, was made last year, and immediately saved Lothian and Borders Police £14,000.

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire representative John Lamont claimed this week there had been “limited or no” engagement with Copshaw residents.

But Superintendent Andrew Allan, local area commander, said Lothian and Borders Police’s current Assistant Chief Constable Graham Sinclair attended a community council meeting when division commander to discuss the proposals.

Mr Allan also pointed to an online poll which showed 88 per cent of respondents preferred to report a crime by phone rather than attend a station.

He told TheSouthern: “When considered by the police board, the potential impact on the community was discussed and funding is being made available for two additional Community Contact Vehicles in the Borders area.

“These will help maintain and increase visible presence, not only in Newcastleton, but also other rural communities across the Borders.

“We are operating in a challenging financial climate. Decisions such as this are hard, but are enabling us to continue to maintain the number of police officers delivering the service locally. This has not changed where any officers are based or deployed from.”

Mr Lamont has now written to Scottish Government justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to outline the village’s concerns.

He added: “The station plays a vital role in the village and without it the ability to fight local crime will be severely diminished.

“It is simply unacceptable for so many people to be almost one hour away from the police.”