Doubts over police station future

Assurances are being sought over the future of the police station at Wilton Hill after plans for a justice hub in the Borders were scrapped this week.

New technology will be installed at Duns and Peebles, while Jedburgh and Selkirk will also retain their court facilities.

Commenting this week, former top cop and now Hawick and Denholm councillor Watson McAteer, who was calling for Hawick and the Wilton Hill building to be central to any new justice facility in the region, said: “After all of the secrecy surrounding the combined feasibility study into the provision of a justice centre in the Borders the partners have all agreed to the status quo.

“We are told there will however be development of innovative technology to support the Duns and Peebles staff and customers of the justice system.

“The good news is that the Jedburgh and Selkirk courts will be retained and continue to deliver justice locally. However, I believe there has been a real opportunity lost with the report indicating that little, if any, consideration was given to using the under-utilised Hawick Police Station as a justice hub for the Borders.

“The building is purpose made and could be converted at a fraction of the almost £8million that would have been required for a new facility at Galashiels.

“I plan to meet the assistant chief constable responsible for the Borders area to discuss any future plans he may have for Hawick police station which hopefully will include suggestions for returning it to full capacity in the near future.”

And Mr McAteer added: “I would like to see a commitment to previous staffing levels in line with what we had in 2003. This included more than 80 staff compared to the 30 or so who are there now.

“And at one point, there was a traffic division, CID, and a fully operational control room and a legalised cell block at Wilton Hill.”

Mr McAteer added that he plans to meet with police in the next few weeks and will seek assurances over the future of the building.

“I would like to see a fully occupied and operational building at Wilton Hill, not the shell we have now. And if this is not something that can be delivered I am concerned that the site will eventually be sold.”

Since June 2013, the Scottish Court Service and Scottish Borders Council had been engaged in a joint feasibility study looking into the provision of integrated justice services for the Scottish Borders.