Fears are being expressed that policing in Moray could suffer through the high number of support staff who are leaving the force.
Figures released by Police Scotland has shown that nine police support workers have taken voluntary redundancy from the Moray division in the last 10 months – while at least the same number again are considering the same option.
The revelation came in a Freedom of Information (FOI) response and will be of further concern to people in Moray communities who are fearing cutbacks and closures to public counter services at police stations in the region.
Police Scotland are consulting over the closure of counter services at Fochabers while their are also believed to be plans in place to reduce services at other stations.
The FOI request was lodged by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart, who expressed his concerns over the departure of staff and the loss of local knowledge that would result.
Mr Stewart said: “Of course support staff are entitled to exercise their right and take voluntary redundancy – but I just wonder how far the door is being held open for them.
“I am sure that the nine that have left and the other nine who are considering this option all had meaningful and important roles within Moray division support operational officers. Who will be doing these roles now?
“We believe such roles can only now be carried out by police officers.”
The Tory councillor for Fochabers/Lhanbryde, Douglas Ross, said that while individuals have to take the deal which suits their circumstances “it raises many concerns about the tasks these staff undertook”.
Police Scotland are expected to conclude their consultations early in the new year.