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Police / Consultation open as police considers closing Brae station

The Brae police station. Photo © Google 2023

A CONSULTATION has opened on the possible closure of the police station in Brae.

Police Scotland said there would be “little to no operational impact” with the potential closure of the station as operational officers have not utilised this recently.

It follows a divisional review of the police’s local estate portfolio.

But Police Scotland insisted no decision has yet been made. The consultation is open until 8 April.

Shetland’s area commander chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said: “Officers supporting the mainland currently deploy from Lerwick and have done for many years.

“The station at Brae is not routinely used but continues to incur daily expenses and requires ongoing repairs and maintenance, which is not best use of public funds.

Shetland area commander chief inspector Stuart Clemenson. Photo: Shetland News

“With advances in digital technology, officers are no longer tied to working from police buildings. A lot of the paperwork side of policing can now be done directly into mobile devices that officers carry with them.

“Our officers therefore spend much of their time out in the community dealing with calls and helping the public.

“I realise how important access to policing services is to the local communities of Shetland and how a physical police presence can bring reassurance and confidence.

“If our proposals go ahead, my officers will continue to be active, visible and accessible across mainland Shetland and the public will receive the same high level of service from officers as they have done over the last few years.

“I understand and I am sensitive to community concerns around changes involving police buildings. I would urge the public and stakeholders to engage with our consultation process and comment and feedback via our Engagement Hub.”

The consultation added: “We further recognise other ongoing community planning work being conducted by Shetland Islands Council whereby a number of different projects are being developed in the Brae area, pulling together a partnership plan.

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The different projects mentioned include a possible new Brae High School, which could potentially include space for other services to use.

Shetland North councillor Andrea Manson questioned if it was the right time to “shrink” the local service given there are big projects on the horizon at nearby Sullom Voe Terminal, for example.

She said there would need to be “no reduction in the total numbers of officers covering the whole of Shetland, as they are already hard pressed”.

But she suggested the community may not notice much difference if the Brae station is rarely manned anyway.

The consultation adds that police will “still be accessible in the local area and the public will still get a response” by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency and reporting incidents or crime online.

The police said the Brae consultation aligns with Police Scotland’s estate strategy, which was approved in 2019.

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