No data to back police station front desk closure

Coldstream Police Station will close to the public.
Coldstream Police Station will close to the public.

Plans to close Coldstream police station’s front desk counter to the public have been criticised after it emerged that there is no new data to support the decision.

Police Scotland plan to close public front desk counters at four police stations in the Borders, including Coldstream, to save money.

But Coldstream and District Community Council says it fails to see how there can possibly be a meaningful consultation process when there is an absence of recent data to back the decision.

The number of people going into stations at Galashiels and Peebles were monitored prior to the decision, but Police Scotland admit that no new data was taken at Coldstream, Lauder, Selkirk or Melrose.

Police Scotland said: “While no data was collated as part of this public counter demand survey for Coldstream, Lauder, Melrose and Selkirk, a separate data collection exercise was undertaken in 2010.

“The data, which looked at total footfall and phone calls rather than demand type, showed low usage by the public at these stations.

“This low demand as well as the geographic location of other stations in the area has suggested as part of this review that the proposal should be to have no public counter provision.”

Coldstream and District Community Council chairman Martin Brims said: “The absence of data is a major concern, I don’t see how we can gauge business because there’s no data.”

Coldstream community councillors agreed that most people who want to contact the police do so via telephone nowadays rather than going along to the office.

However, councillors also pointed out that the closure of the front office raises the potential for other potential problems that need to be addressed.

For example, if someone found a wallet in the town, where would they hand it in to? If someone is asked to show their driving documents at a police station, where do they go?If someone has to report to the police station, does the closure mean they would have to travel ten miles to Kelso in future?

Reassurances are also being sought on what will happen to the work done by front counter staff.

The community council have asked if those staff will continue to do the work in a different location, or whether the work be passed to police officers which could impact on front-line police services.

“Our primary concern is policing levels,” said Mr Brims.