The Northern Joint Police Board agreed the closure of a number of police stations at its meeting in January, in order to avoid a further reduction in police staff numbers and to maintain officers at highest possible levels within communities.
This enables the Force to meet the reduced budget for 2011-12, whilst retaining officer numbers above a minimum of 761 for the coming year.
The proposals identified a total of 16 stations across the Highlands and Islands which could be closed, with alternative service provision put in place to maintain a visible police presence in these communities. These police stations are Scalloway, Dunrossness, Stromness, Bettyhill, Lybster, Evanton, Cromarty, Barvas, Carloway, Ness, Tarbert, Broadford, Spean Bridge, Beauly, Drumnadrochit and Ardersier.
In line with this decision, Barvas, Carloway and Ness Police Stations will close on 31 March 2011. Police officers will continue to work within the community, holding regular surgeries at the Carloway Medical Centre and other locations.
Tarbert Police Station is scheduled to close in August 2012, after which the service will be provided from a new shared premises with the local authority.
Area Commander, Chief Inspector Gordon MacLeod said: “Police officers will still be visible and accessible and working within the community as usual. Regular surgeries will be held by officers at the Carloway Medical Centre from April and people can speak to an officer at any time by telephoning 01851 702222. ”
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cowie said: “In recent years Northern Constabulary has carried out a significant amount of planning and preparation which puts us in a better position than many other forces or organisations to deal with the challenging years ahead. We are already highly efficient and have maximised resources into frontline policing. The measures taken to rationalise our estate and reception services allow us to retain the highest possible numbers of officers in our communities.”
Closed police stations will be disposed on the open market in due course.