Kirkcaldy police station could be option for court trials

Kirkcaldy police station
Kirkcaldy police station

The possibility of moving trials from Kirkcaldy’s sheriff court to the town’s police station is being considered.

The move follows further calls for a new justice centre in the town amid concerns that the current court facilities are inadequate to deal with a rising number of trials which it is being faced with.

The town's sheriff court

The town's sheriff court

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service told the Press this week that creating a new hub for dealing with court services was something it was keen to do, but that it would be some time before funding was available.

In the meantime it is looking at other options to help the current situation.

A spokesman said: “SCTS is leading the multi-agency project to deliver the Inverness Justice Centre which will set the standard for the future provision of justice services.

“This is an approach we hope to be able to replicate in other areas where facilities are in need of improvement – particularly in Fife, where there is widespread support for a Justice Centre in Kirkcaldy.

Claire Baker MSP

Claire Baker MSP

“In recognising that this is some way off and would require considerable funding, we continue to look at all potential options that may inform our plans to improve the quality of our services in the short term. The possibility of creating court facilities in Kirkcaldy Police Station is one of these options.

“Following the closure of Cupar all business was transferred to Dundee, with no impact on Kirkcaldy.”

Statistics show that the number of solemn trials where evidence was led at Kirkcaldy was 31 in 2011/12 and 41 in 2016/17, while the total so far this year is 27.

A statement from Police Scotland added: “Police Scotland is currently assessing its estate to ensure buildings support modern operational policing and are fit for purpose.

“By making the best use of property we retain, we will be more efficient and will make better use of public funds. Sharing some facilities with partners is one option being considered.

“Any decisions made concerning Kirkcaldy Police Station will have no impact on the level of local policing in the town.”

The news has prompted Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, to reiterate her call for more action.

“The case for a new state of the art justice centre in Kirkcaldy grows stronger every year as we witness significant increase in trials and delays,” she said.

“The current building is no longer fit for purpose. As our justice system adapts to modern times, Kirkcaldy is still left with a building dealing with a lack of space, poor equipment and the potential for witnesses and accused to pass each other in the stairwell.

“It is clear for everyone to see that a new justice centre is the answer for the area. Instead we have short term patchwork solutions that fail to fully address the problems face locally.

“Plans to move jury trials to Kirkcaldy Police Station is just the latest attempt to paper over the cracks, potentially impacting not just on our court system but also on local policing.

“The Scottish Government must now step up and support a justice system in the town, as they did with the centre in Inverness. Failure to do so will just see further unacceptable delays for locals.”