THE OPENING hours of the public desk at Lerwick Police Station could be set to increase to seven days a week.
Once a second staff member has been recruited, the desk will be open from 8am to 6pm every day, minus a one hour lunch break.
At the moment there is only one staff member working to a 28 hour per week shift pattern. This sees the desk open six days out of 14, 8am to 6pm.
The news has been warmly welcomed by chairman of Shetland’s community’s safety and resilience board Councillor Allison Duncan, who has long pressed the police force on the opening hours.
He said people can travel for miles with no guarantee that the desk would be manned.
Speaking at last week’s meeting of the community safety and resilience board, Duncan said he was “delighted” at the progress.
Shetland area commander chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said the recruitment of a new worker came just before the national service implemented a stop on bringing in new staff who are not officers.
He told the meeting that the first person to be lined up for the job turned it down because they were unable to find suitable accommodation in Shetland.
Clemenson did note that under the new set-up there still may be times when the desk is not manned due to sickness, training or leave.
He also told the meeting that at the moment there may be four or five people come through the door on a busy ten-hour day.
But there can be other times where no-one uses the desk for a few days, the meeting heard.
“The way which people report crime now has significantly changed,” Clemenson added.
“They’re online a lot more…[and] they’re phoning in through the 101 system.”
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