Plans to strengthen local policing through more modern and efficient accommodation shared with other public services are being pioneered in the North East.
Police Scotland officers, staff and volunteers are preparing to move to Aberdeenshire Council’s area headquarters, Buchan House in Peterhead, which will enable people to better work with council staff to enhance outcomes for communities.
The work is in line with Police Scotland’s ambitious Estate Strategy, which was approved by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) in May, and will establish a model for the future of Police Scotland’s divisional estate.
The strategy, which outlines an intention to re-invest a further £150m worth of sales back into Police Scotland buildings as part of the £400m investment required, will increase community bases for all local staff and officers and identify more opportunities to co-locate and collaborate with key partners.
This will develop a sustainable, modern and demand-led property estate that enables excellence of service to communities.
Further details of the work in the North East, including early proposals for the future of the Divisional HQ at Queen Street and a plan to strengthen collaboration and integration by co-locating with Aberdeen City Council at the nearby Marischal College and within Aberdeenshire Council headquarters in Woodhill House, will be presented to the meeting of the Authority in Aberdeen on Wednesday, November 27.
Assistant Chief Constable Local Policing North John Hawkins said: “These plans present exciting opportunities to work more closely with key partners to address the needs of local communities across the North East.
“Buchan House is an excellent example of how policing and a local authority can deliver a joined up service for the benefit of the public.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s director of business services, Ritchie Johnson, who oversees the authority’s office space strategy, said: “The Buchan House project has provided an excellent opportunity for us to build on our relationship with Police Scotland, with integration and collaboration at the heart of the development.
“As well as offering increased access to services for the public, the project will provide excellent opportunities for closer working between Aberdeenshire Council, Police Scotland and our partners.”
North East Division Commander, Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson said: “In North East Division we want to build on the excellent partnership working that exists at all levels as we strive to deliver the very best policing service to our local communities.
“As such when opportunities present to co-locate with public sector partners, we wish to be part of the conversation, to ensure we create environments where we collaboratively promote early interventions and facilitate more integrated and effective public services with better outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society.
"Scotland's communities are changing and we too must change to meet the needs of those we serve to protect."
SPA chair Susan Deacon CBE will visit Buchan House to meet with officers and staff and hear more about collaboration work in the area ahead of the Authority’s meeting on Wednesday.
She said: “The authority will be in Aberdeen this week and so will have the opportunity to see for ourselves the excellent work being done to strengthen partnership working and collaboration in the North East. We are looking forward to meeting with the policing team and hearing first hand from both local councils and community representatives about how they are working together to improve services to communities.”