Police could move to sell-off 53 stations across Scotland – and almost half of them are in the north and north-east.
The force wants to get rid of 14% of its properties – 10 of which are still used and 43 are empty – to “help achieve financial sustainability”.
The plans will be discussed at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority in Inverness tomorrow, ahead of a three-month public consultation.
A dozen stations would be sold in the Highlands and islands at Invergordon, Brora, Lairg, Bonar Bridge, Fortrose and Bettyhill on the mainland, as well as Dunvegan and Broadford on Skye, Lochboisdale on South Uist, and Sumburgh, Baltasound and Whalsay on Shetland.
In Argyll and Bute, four stations are earmarked for the axe, including Inveraray and Taynuilt.
And it is proposed to put five stations on the market in Aberdeenshire at Cruden Bay, Oldmeldrum, Portsoy, Insch and Kemnay, as well as another four in Aberdeen at Dyce, Cove Library, Hazlehead and Kaimhill.
All of those stations are empty or soon to be, except Brora, Lairg, Bonar Bridge, Fortrose, Dunvegan, Sumburgh, Baltasound, Whalsay, which have an “occasional use by officers when on patrol”.
Under the plans, the majority of the properties would be sold next year, and the force believes it can secure £6.147million for the stations as well as saving almost £1.533million in running costs.
Politicians last night called for assurances from police chiefs over the plans.
Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said: “It is essential that there is proper meaningful community engagement and consultation with regards to these proposals.
“There is no point in selling property just to make ends meet, if you realise down the road that you need the property you have sold.”
Liam Kerr, north-east MSP and Scottish Conservative justice spokesman, said: “Given the budget cuts that Police Scotland is having to make, it is hardly surprising that properties are being sold off.
“However, the disposal of so many police buildings will do little to quell fears among the public about the centralisation of local services.
“People already feel that the force is detached from the public, and the loss of stations and offices will not help that.”
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie said: “The review of the Police Scotland estate was conducted to ensure that it is fit for purpose and reflects the changing nature of policing and can support service delivery to local communities.
“There are a large number of properties currently empty, or soon to become empty, however they still have associated running costs. Such a position does not provide best value or help achieve financial sustainability.”