A senior Police Scotland officer has moved quickly to counter any claims that the new national force is planning to close police stations.
Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson issued a statement today that acknowledged media reports on the force plans to achieve savings of £1.7billion.
ACM Mawson said the reports were a quick and welcome response to the public consultation launched by Police Scotland, adding that the wide range of views expressed through the media would be taken into account.
However, he has made it clear that any plans to close the public desk at some stations, including Fochabers in Moray, did not signal the closure of the stations themselves.
He said; “Having reviewed all the media reporting on this important issue yesterday, there is only one point that I would like to make absolutely clear.
“This salient point is that my review of the public counter provision is definitely not about closing entire police station buildings.
“My review is about rationalising the front counter provision and making front counter opening hours consistent across the country and it’s absolutely geared toward meeting local demand.
“It’s also about keeping as many police officers as possible out on the street, where they belong, keeping people safe.”
The ACM added that he wished to hear further feedback from the public and elected members during the four-week consultation period.
He added: “Information about our proposals has been loaded onto the Police Scotland website and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
“All the details about how to contact us are on the website but I’ll repeat the dedicated email address again today – publiccounterreview@Scotland.pnn.police.uk.”
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, meanwhile, said that any plans to close the public desks of stations had to be explained fully to the pubic.
Mr Lochhead said: “Most people do understand that if you want to contact the police you generally use the telephone to do so.
“It is really important that Police Scotland put in the public domain as soon as possible the case for proposing closure of the public desk at any station.
“I know that my constituents’ first priority is officers on the beat. If part of a achieving that is close the public desk then it is something we need to hear about before it takes place.”