Aberdeen police HQ set to close next year

Police are set to move out of their headquarters in Aberdeen - with the building shutting down.

The Queen Street office will be closed next year and disposed of, with staff relocated to Marischal College, where they will co-locate with Aberdeen City Council, Woodhill House alongside Aberdeenshire Council and existing police buildings in Aberdeen.

Approval was given to the proposal at yesterday’s Scottish Police Authority’s Board meeting.

Queen Street police office was built in the early 1970s for the formation of Grampian Police in May 1975, and has served as the north-east's policing headquarters for 45 years.

But the force says it has limitations for modernisation, is not fully accessible or energy efficient, and has become costly to maintain.

Assistant Chief Constable of local policing north, John Hawkins, said: "Co-locating with partners gives Police Scotland the opportunity to collaborate more closely to address the needs of our local communities - this decision marks an exciting time for not only the north-east, but also for Police Scotland as a whole.

"As an organisation we are committed to providing traditional, visible and accessible policing but we recognise the demands on policing, and the public expectation of policing in Scotland has evolved over time and will continue to evolve. This includes how the public contact us and engage with us.

"When the Queen Street office opened 45 years ago, it was very much state-of-the-art and has served both Grampian Police and Police Scotland extremely well over the decades.

"However a building of this age does have its limitations and high costs in keeping it maintained. Co-locating with public service partners in shared facilities not only facilitates greater partnership working but it also helps to reduce our overall physical and carbon footprints, which is a key objective of our estates strategy.

"Along with the recent move of the Peterhead policing team into Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan House in August, the north-east is paving the way for similar projects in other areas of the country in the future.

"We welcome the SPA’s decision and support with this project and look forward to working with our partners and staff to implement this positive change."

Chief Superintendent George MacDonald, divisional commander for the north-east division, said: "Queen Street has been an iconic building in the city centre for 45 years and thousands of officers and staff, including myself, have enjoyed our time working there, however this approval signals the start of an exciting change for policing in the north-east.

"Having staff and officers based at both within Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council’s headquarters will provide greater scope for working more efficiently with our local authority partners, and allow us to build on the existing strong links we have developed over the years.

"Providing a high standard of service is at the heart of operational policing. Our city centre officers and public counter services will be among those teams based at Marischal College and so the public can be reassured that they will continue to receive the same level of service they have experienced at Queen Street.

"Working together with our partners will ensure we provide more integrated and effective public services with better outcomes for the local community."

Councillor Jim Gifford, leader of Aberdeenshire Council, said: "We are pleased to have this opportunity to work even closer with Police Scotland when they join us at Woodhill House, and we look forward to welcoming them.

"As well as opening new opportunities for partnership work, the move supports our work to diversify our office estate in support of the wider economy."

Councillor Jenny Laing, chair of Community Planning Aberdeen, said: "The council is working with Police Scotland to co-locate and integrate services within Marischal College.

"Prevention and early intervention – through the sharing of skills and knowledge – will help manage demand, reduce the risk of harm, and lessen inequalities, with outcomes ranging from reduced anti-social behaviour to healthier living."

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