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Vacant Lairg police station to be sold off under wider Scotland plans

By Philip Murray

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Police Scotland news.
Police Scotland news.

Lairg's mothballed police station is to be permanently sold off, the force has announced as part of wider cuts across Scotland.

Police Scotland is planning to shutter 29 stations and other buildings across the country after deeming them "surplus to requirements" and will move officers and staff "to other locations".

Three of the 29 sites are already described as being vacant and 14 others are reported to have no public access.

Consultation will also be conducted over the future of 16 further properties, which Police Scotland says are either "already vacant or are plots of land with no buildings".

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Plans to close a further 14 properties on top of these proposals will be brought forward "at a later date".

Confirming their intention to sell off the Lairg site, Police Scotland said the building had been vacant "for more than three years" and added that officers and staff who had previously used the site "now deploy from other stations within the division".

They also said that the building had already been deemed surplus to requirements and that "re-marketing or auction to be progressed".

Elsewhere in the Highlands, the force also plans to axe its Muir of Ord station in Ross-shire.

The Muir of Ord station currently runs no front counter service for the public and the force added that it is not used as a "local policing base".

It does however add that it is "used by [an] officer/staff member but not local policing".

Deputy Chief Constable, Malcolm Graham said: “Our estate needs to be fit for 21st century policing, putting service enhancement, visibility, and engagement at the heart of the communities we serve.

“Our presence in communities is not defined by buildings but by the officers and staff who work there, and we have already introduced technology that enables our officers to remain in local areas, reducing the need for them to return to police stations to deal with paperwork.

“We are determined to continue to improve our visibility and accessibility, as well as to bring partners together to deliver services in the most efficient and effective way.

“The buildings in which our officers and staff work need to be safe, functional spaces, and they need to be sustainable and adaptable enough to meet changing public expectations and the changing nature of policing.”

He added: “Police Scotland inherited a very large and ageing estate, much of which was not fit for purpose, with high maintenance costs and environmental inefficiencies.

“The locations of many inherited buildings no longer meet the requirements of local communities and in some cases the organisation is currently maintaining multiple buildings in the same geographic area, less than five miles apart.

“Some of the buildings are just a few miles apart, others are used by only a handful of police officers or staff and have no public access, while many are rarely visited by a member of the public."

He added that the financial savings of these property disposals would be re-invested into providing policing services.

To review the proposals and have your say visit the force's engagement hub.

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