Midlothian police stations to close front counters

Lothian and Borders Police Force is to press ahead with plans to close the public counter at three Midlothian police stations.

No timetable is in place for the closure of the public counters at Gorebridge, Newbattle and Loanhead. Consultation is now taking place with staff.

The review will see a change to opening hours at Dalkeith and an increase in opening hours at Penicuik. The disused Danderhall station will be sold off.

Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab), one of two Midlothian representatives on the police board, updated colleagues last week. Midlothian and East Lothian board members opposed the plans.

He explained that during the debate, it was revealed that a force review of stations, including Edinburgh, was carried out in 2008. “There were no closures in the city but it led to the reduction in opening hours at a number of police stations in Midlothian, including two in my ward (Newbattle and Gorebridge).

“Rationalisation meant staff from these stations were being seconded elsewhere and there were inconsistencies in opening hours. Perhaps it is understandable that with the inconsistencies, less and less people were attending,” said Councillor Muirhead.

He expressed concern at the level of consultation and the likely demographic involved: “It took place through an online survey of 750 people. Only eight per cent said they would go to a desk. They were missing out the very people likely to go (to the police station).”

To increase police presence in local communities, the community policing vehicle will be used as an alternative point of contact in areas where counter hours have been removed.