POLICE chiefs were in Alloa last week to mark the official opening of shared facilities at the council's Kilncraigs headquarters.

As reported in the past years, the force has been gearing up to relocate the police station to a shared facility at the council building, enabling closer partnership working while saving taxpayer money.

The move went ahead last year and Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone paid a visit last Thursday, September 22, to tour the building and officially mark its opening.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “From a police perspective, this is something that we want to do right across the whole of Scotland.

“We've got people who are providing services to communities, they are often the same people who have needs and our responsibility as public servants is to meet those needs.

“The best way to do that is to co-locate so that we can provide the best interventions to people who require it.

“That commitment to partnership is working is something I'd like to see, as chief constable, right across Scotland.”

The Wee County is at the forefront of that effort and Scotland's highest ranking police officer remarked on the ongoing “innovative work” and the strong relationship between police and council staff.

The station at Kilncraigs comes with its own, dedicated public entrance, just by the automatic doors to the council services.

Asked whether there should be concerns over the move being seen as a cost-cutting measure, CC Livingstone said: “I don't think saving cost is a bad thing.

“In the public sector we know the pressure all budgets are under, we all got responsibility to make sure that we achieve best value.

“So actually, you can get a better service at lower cost – that's what public services right across Scotland should be doing.”

There are already other co-located police buildings in the country, but the closeness of the working relationships between police and council officers makes the Wee County venture unique.

For Chief Inspector Audrey Marsh, area commander for Clacks, the Safeguarding Through Rapid Intervention (STRIVE) initiative epitomises that.

“This is about truly integrated service delivery,” she explained.

“That is the essence of the co-location and also the STRIVE project.

“This is about all the partners, statutory and third sector, working cohesively to deliver bespoke interventions to help and protect the citizens of Clackmannanshire and improve their lives.”

STRIVE, a multi-agency team safeguarding vulnerable people on the cusp of statutory intervention, has protected more than 400 people in the area so far, the area commander explained.

For council leader Ellen Forson, the move is about providing the best outcomes for residents.

“That really means working with our community planning partnerships, of whom police is a key component,” she said.

The council leader also highlighted the success of the STRIVE programme, which was being developed as the opportunity to co-locate came up.

She added: “It's award-winning, it's innovative, one of the first in Scotland.

“It's really demonstrated [success], as Audrey [Marsh] said, it's helped more than 400 people now and that's what we are here for.”