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Board gives approval to dispose of Queen Street police headquarters

By David Porter

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Approval has been granted to dispose of Queen Street police office in Aberdeen next year as part of Police Scotland’s estates strategy to develop greater integration by co-locating with partner organisations.

The divisional headquarters on Queen Street in Aberdeen is to be sold.
The divisional headquarters on Queen Street in Aberdeen is to be sold.

During 2021 Queen Street police office will be vacated and disposed of with staff relocated to Marischal College, co-locating with Aberdeen City Council, Woodhill House alongside Aberdeenshire Council and also to existing police buildings in Aberdeen.

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

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.

However as a building of its era, it has limitations for modernisation, it is not fully accessible, it is not energy efficient and over the years has become costly to maintain.

Assistant chief constable, Local Policing North, John Hawkins explains: “Co-locating with partners gives Police Scotland the opportunity to collaborate more closely to address the needs of our local communities.

"Yesterday’s 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 North East Division added: “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.”

Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Jim Gifford 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.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee Anne Stirling said: “We’ve had an excellent working relationship with Police Scotland for many years, with increasing collaboration and integration between teams from both organisations.

“Welcoming Police Scotland into Woodhill House feels like a natural step to build further on this as we continue work together to serve our communities in Aberdeenshire.”

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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