Public police counters in Fife are shut for up to a quarter of the year, it has been revealed.
The statistics were uncovered in a Freedom of Information request made by Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser.
It showed the counter in Dalgety Bay was closed 25% of 2017 while St Andrews remained shut for 15% of the year.
In 2014, Police Scotland took the controversial decision to close counters or cut their operating hours. Both Dalgety Bay and St Andrews were affected.
The counters are advertised as being open from 9am to 5pm, 260 days a year but on 22 days last year the Dalgety Bay counter was closed because officers had to cover staff shortages in Dunfermline.
Conservative MSP Mr Fraser, said: “When Police Scotland originally made the decision to downgrade and close counters across the country it was done with the understanding that those remaining counters would be open as advertised.
“This is clearly not happening in Fife. Ultimately, the loser in all of this is the public and it’s really important people can go to a police station as and when they need to.”
He said many elderly and vulnerable residents prefer to speak to an officer face to face and the failure to provide that service, even on a reduced timetable, is “bitterly disappointing”.
“The last thing people in Dalgety Bay want to hear is that their community officers are off covering shortages in Dunfermline.”
He added he understands Police Scotland’s staffing pressures so it is important the Scottish Government supports officers in Scotland’s communities.
Superintendent Irene Ralston said: “We try to maintain our front counter service whenever we can but, as an alternative, members of the public can access our services by phone and online.
“We will always prioritise Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy police stations which are open 24 hours a day, but it would be inappropriate to take officers from frontline duties in order to staff front counters.
“This does mean that sometimes this service will be closed as officers are far more valuable in our communities, preventing crime and responding to incidents that arise.”
She said if a front counter was closed, the public could to the service centre using the free public contact telephone and officers will return to the station if required.