A daily newspaper has launched a hard-hitting campaign to save police stations from closure.
The Edinburgh Evening News is calling on readers to keep open 10 stations in and around the Scottish capital following plans by Police Scotland to close several front counters.
Editorial staff at the Johnston Press title have launched a petition and printed cut-out coupons which can be filled in by readers asking the force to keep policing at the heart of the communities.
Shopkeepers, who fear fewer police hours will see a spike in crime rates, are also being urged to put up ‘Save our Station’ posters in their stores.
Several MPs and local councillors have also thrown their weight behind the campaign against closing police station front counters.
Police Scotland said the proposed changes follow a careful analysis of visits made to stations and reflect changes in the way people now contact the force, with many using e-mail, phone or even Twitter.
Euan McGrory, deputy editor of the Edinburgh Evening News, believes the force has not thought through the closures and the campaign has received plenty of backing from readers.
“These plans mean police will continue to work in local offices across our region, but with those offices closed to the public,” he told HTFP.
“Officers are effectively being told they cannot help local residents who knock on their door to report a crime. The force’s own figures show that more than 100,000 people a year visit the counters they are proposing to close in the Lothians alone.
“We understand that public services have to modernise, but these proposals from Police Scotland just don’t seem to have been thought through.
“The response to our campaign – from readers, politicians and the local business community – has been overwhelming.”