Work has begun on a £3.7m project to build a new two courtroom complex within the historic police station building in Kirkcaldy.
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is creating the additional facilities in a bid to improve efficiency and flexibility of the town’s busy sheriff court.
The construction of the new courtrooms, which will hear sheriff and jury cases as well as custody matters, is expected to take around eight months.
The courtrooms will be housed within the current police station building on St Brycedale Avenue and will provide improved accommodation for court users, victims and jurors.
A new court custody unit will also be created and the current Justice of the Peace Court building will be put up for sale.
The opportunity to develop the entire police building into a justice centre providing the full range of services from a single location still remains an option at a later stage.
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Clerk Gail Smith said: “I am delighted that building works have now commenced, and looking forward to the forthcoming changes that will provide better facilities for those attending court.
“The court programme is also being reviewed to make the best use of court time and resources, in addition to continuing to use video conferencing links for prisons for procedural hearings.
“Technology will allow us to manage the two sites efficiently and we will continue to promote the use of video conferencing links to prisons for procedural hearings.”
Eric McQueen, SCTS Chief Executive, said: “With financial support from the Scottish Government we are taking this initial exciting step to improve court services within Kirkcaldy, which is consistent with our longer term ambition to establish justice centres in key locations in Scotland, including Fife.”
Police Scotland’s Fife Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Derek McEwan said: “I welcome the work starting and we will welcome our partners when they begin to use these state of the art facilities.
“We will be able to work much more closely with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service which will enable us to run a more efficient process from police custody into court, freeing up time for those who work in our custody suite and front line local policing officers alike.
“This opportunity emphasises Police Scotland’s ambition to influence and enhance all services provided to the communities of Fife through a collaborative approach.”
The current sheriff court building has been plagued with structural issues in recent months.
Several areas of the roof leak, a radiator burst at the end of last year and the current jury box in court two collapsed during a child sex abuse trial.