The purpose-built extension to the council’s existing base in Buchan House on St Peter Street was formally opened by Provost of Aberdeenshire Cllr Bill Howatson and Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone following a small ceremony and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.
Work on the two-storey station began in September 2019, with Police Scotland moving to the facility from its former Merchant Street offices last August.
Since then, police support has been provided via the secure out-of-hours counter at the main entrance to the building. Inside the building, council services are accessed via the customer service point that reopened earlier this year. As restrictions relax, Police Scotland will also have a public facing desk.
Hosting the event, Provost Howatson said: “The pandemic may have delayed our opportunity to formally mark the completion of this important project but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of celebration.”
“I’m pleased to see how well Aberdeenshire Council and Police Scotland have been working together in the building to ensure continued access to services and wish everybody all the best for the future.”
Among the attendees was Deputy Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Councillor Peter Argyle, who said: “The extension was very much built with partnership working in mind, with criminal justice social work staff working alongside Police Scotland in the shared area of the extension.”
“The mix of dedicated space and collaborative working areas provides the flexibility to adapt as we continue to recover from the challenges we have faced since the beginning of the pandemic, so we are in a good position as that journey continues.”
From the Police Scotland perspective, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “Local policing lies at the heart of Police Scotland’s purpose and identity. A local, responsive and accessible service is key to policing’s strong bond with our fellow citizens. Sharing fit for purpose buildings with other agencies can enable us all to meet the changing needs and requirements of our communities, delivering value to the public.”
“Buchan House is an important example of these principles and I’m grateful to Aberdeenshire Council and officers and staff within our North East (A) Division and across Police Scotland for working together for the benefit of the public we serve.”
Chief Superintendent George Macdonald added: “The old station at Merchant Street was a well-known base for our officers but it was no longer fit for purpose and by moving to Buchan House, we can better serve the community and provide fit for purpose accommodation for our people.”
“Community based policing is very much still at the heart of what we do and being co-located with colleagues from Aberdeenshire Council allows us to build on the already strong links we have. The public will also benefit from local service providers working together in one location.”
The £1.5million extension provides dedicated space for Police Scotland, along with shared office space for council and police colleagues to work alongside each other. Representatives of the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership are also based at Buchan House, cementing the facility as a hub for public services.
The extension was funded by Aberdeenshire Council and is leased to Police Scotland, with the lower floor used by police officers and staff and the upper floor offering shared facilities. Dedicated parking space was also created.
The facility was designed and built by Robertson Construction, with the extension perfectly complementing the main building within the boundaries of the existing site.
John McHardy, business development director, Robertson Construction Eastern, commented: “Partnership is at the core of this project throughout, having originally built Buchan House, we were invited to create the extension for Police Scotland on a design and build basis.”
“Our strong working relationship with the project team at Aberdeenshire Council ensured that the project delivery, although impacted by the pandemic, was a positive experience for all involved.”