Highlands & Islands

Northern Constabulary suggests closing police stations

Drumnadrochit. Pic:
Image caption Drumnadrochit is among communities which could lose its police station

A force has suggested shutting 16 stations and reducing operating hours of others as part of efforts to save £4.7m over the next financial year.

Northern Constabulary could close sites in the Highlands, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

About 25 police officers and as many as 50 civilian jobs are also expected to go.

The force described the potential cuts as "extraordinary" and of a level not seen in modern times.

The full scale of the cuts will not be known until next month.

Stations could be closed in Scalloway and Dunrossness on Shetland and Stromness on Orkney.

Barvas, Carloway, Ness and Tarbert on the Western Isles and Broadford on Skye.

In the Highlands, Bettyhill, Lybster, Evanton, Cromarty, Spean Bridge, Beauly, Drumnadrochit and Ardersier are also in the firing line.

Operating hours could be reduced at Lerwick, on Shetland, Kirkwall, on Orkney, Stornoway on Lewis, and Portree on Skye.

Also, Thurso, Alness, Aviemore, Nairn, Dornoch and Tain. Nairn recently got a new police station at a cost of £1.6m.

Chief Constable Ian Latimer said policing was facing unprecedented financial challenges.

He said Northern Constabulary was already a highly efficient force and significant preparation work has been done to prepare for budget shortfalls.

Mr Latimer said: "Policing and indeed the whole of the public sector is facing unprecedented financial challenges over the coming months and years.

"Northern Constabulary is committed to a community model of policing which understands the needs of its communities across the Highlands and Islands."

The proposals along with feedback from staff will be considered by Northern Joint Police Board on 26 November.

Board vice convener William Ross said: "The levels of savings required are unpalatable and mean we must contemplate actions and changes which we would never have considered even some 12 months ago, but they are now sadly necessary and a 'do nothing' option does not exist."

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