PUBLIC opening hours at West Fife police stations could be reduced as part of efforts to cut costs.

Police Scotland have confirmed that they are "assessing whether public counter opening times in Fife should be amended" after a source told the Press that there were discussions currently ongoing in the force.

They said that opening hours could be slashed at Dunfermline police station from its current 24-hours – to 8am to midnight daily.

It was rumoured that Dalgety Bay police station was to shut completely but Police Scotland have stressed that there are "no plans to close any police stations". Opening hours there are currently 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

A public consultation will take place if these proposals are brought forward.

Responding to the news, Dunfermline Central councillor Garry Haldane said: "I can understand the pressures on the police service because of funding levels coming from the Scottish Government.

"However, to close the counter after midnight in a major town like Dunfermline, especially at the weekend, I think will be damaging to the community and the reputation of the police.

"Constituents tell me all the time that it takes 30-45 minutes to get through to the police when calling 101 so there is already pressure there.

"If they can't get through to that number or go to a police station then where is the service?

"I think it will cause a knock-on effect to other public services as people try and find someone to get in touch with.

"After midnight, you'll especially see anti-social behaviour and a perfect example is the Glen. If you can't get in contact with the police then people will just go on smashing everything up. It will affect response times."

The latest figures published in August show that more than 260,000 calls made to the national police 101 non-emergency number in the first six months of this year did not reach an operator.

The figure equates to 1,451 calls every day across Scotland that ended before the caller was able to speak to anyone.

Dalgety Bay councillor David Barratt added: "Dalgety Bay police station has been made a bit of a hub in recent years.

"Any changes will go through consultation with the public but it would be disappointing if they were to reduce accessibility."

Chief Inspector Joanne McEwan said: “We are committed to providing a visible neighbourhood policing presence which meets the needs of the communities we serve.

“Use of our public counters has changed in recent times with more people choosing to contact us on the phone or online rather than visiting us in person.

“In order to ensure we are being as efficient and cost-effective as possible, we are currently assessing whether public counter opening times in Fife should be amended.

“Any change to public counter opening hours will be subject to detailed consultation and engagement with the relevant communities and stakeholders and will require the approval of the Scottish Police Authority.

“There are no plans to close any police stations.

“Public counters are staffed by members of police staff and do not reflect the number or availability of police officers.

“In the event a public counter is closed, members of the public can still contact us on 101, via our website, or by use of the intercom in place at every police station. In the event of an emergency, always dial 999.”