Future of police stations under review

Graham Sinclair, Steve Allen, Cllr David Parker and Kenny MacAskill MSP outside Galashiesl Police Station.
Graham Sinclair, Steve Allen, Cllr David Parker and Kenny MacAskill MSP outside Galashiesl Police Station.

Fears have been raised for the future of the Borders police stations as the new single force launches a review of opening hours.

Police Scotland say there has been a decrease in the amount of people who are attending station counters and as a result the most efficient opening times are being sought.

Also, in a letter to politicians, Police Scotland said it faced an “increasingly challenging financial climate”. Coupled with the selling of the police’s facilities in West Linton, Innerleithen and Newcastleton in 2011 – albeit a police post reopened in the latter village last month – there is concern stations could be shut altogether.

At Selkirk Community Council on Monday, doubts were expressed over the future of the town’s station.

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar said: “We can’t safely say this (closure) will not happen.

“We were assured by the police (that the station would not close) a few years ago, but we were sceptical then.

“We are fully aware of what could happen.”

Fellow member Michelle Ballantyne believes the service has become more centralised since the single force introduction. She said: “You phone Selkirk Police Station and get put through to someone in Edinburgh who doesn’t know where I am talking about. Rural locations are going to see a much more Strathclyde (Police) approach.”

Borders MSP John Lamont said: “The opening hours, and indeed the overall existence, of police stations – especially in rural areas – has long been a concern.

“Around one fifth have closed in recent years, and a significant number have had their hours slashed. This undermines the confidence people have in their local police.”