North-east MP Andrew Bowie has made calls for Asda to be considered as a new base for officers after proposals to close Portlethen police station were announced.
Meeting with the Scottish police authority and Scottish police federation, Mr Bowie voiced his concerns that the closure of the Portlethen police station could lead to a rise in local crime.
News of the potential closure comes after a police review of local authority areas.
After investigating the need for a dedicated station in the Aberdeenshire town, bosses deemed it surplus to requirements.
What will now follow is a consultation with the local community, which will help further inform police plans for the station.
Hoping to find an alternative to the closure, Mr Bowie spoke to police chiefs about possible alternatives such as basing officers in the nearby Asda to ensure the town isn’t left without police personnel.
He said: “We must start looking at alternatives, so officers remain stationed in Portlethen, and there is no reason why the police cannot be in a unit within Asda.
“I’m really concerned that crime may rise in the town if officers are absent from being based there, and this must be addressed with the utmost urgency.”
“This town is being left at the bottom of the pile”
After being told that there is enough work in Portlethen to accommodate two officers at a time, Mr Bowie fears that if officers had to be stationed away from the town, a potential rise in crime could occur.
He added: “During my meeting with the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Police Federation, I was told the Portlethen office has enough work to satisfy two officers on a shift, so to scrap the town’s base is alarming.
“Three special constables work in Portlethen, and there has been no confirmation of where they would go if Portlethen closes.
“The town is being left at the bottom of the pile, and that is simply unacceptable when it comes to crime and prevention.
“Residents deserve to have a visible police presence which is essential to detect, prevent and reduce crime – to have this taken away from them is scandalous.”
‘Keep people safe’
Chief inspector Jackie Knight said: “Police Scotland’s estates strategy is designed to ensure it is fit for purpose, reflects the nature of policing and can support service delivery to local communities.
“Each division reviews and considers their requirements in consultation with communities, partners and stakeholders.
“This allows us to identify and propose locations where existing buildings no longer meet local policing requirements and where other opportunities exist.
“By making the necessary changes to our estate, we can maintain a visible, accessible and responsive service which keeps people safe.
“Consultation is ongoing and we will consider all options going forward, including integration with other key services.
“Any future plans will also be subject to the approval of the Scottish Police Authority.”