PORTABLE 'cabin' cells were suggested for a future Greenock police station during a hush-hush meeting involving local chief superintendent Gordon McCreadie, the Telegraph can reveal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the idea was mooted as a possible alternative to the existing 57-cell suite within the town's closure-threatened police HQ at a private briefing of all elected members of Inverclyde Council last month.

Police Scotland is preparing to axe the existing station but top brass - who are conducting a public consultation on the controversial move - have provided little detail about what will replace it, and have referred only to a 'custody solution' for Greenock.

The latest revelation comes after we told last Friday how the force ploughed £530,000 of public money into a major revamp of the town's custody suite before announcing the station closure plan.

One source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the meeting with Chief Superintendent McCreadie took place in the Municipal Buildings shortly before last Christmas.

The insider said: "Modular cabin cells were mentioned during the discussion with councillors as an example of an alternative custody solution that had worked elsewhere.

“Everything is under consideration at the moment but the communication from Police Scotland to the public about the future of the police station and its custody suite has been so unclear."

Another source said: “It’s going to cause all sorts of headaches for officers if there isn’t a custody suite locally, so solutions are welcome, but the police need to be up front about what is on the table and what isn’t.”

Chief Superintendent McCreadie and other senior officers are set to be quizzed by councillors about their plans for the future of policing in Inverclyde at an emergency meeting later this week.

But we can reveal that there has already been discussions with elected members behind closed doors ahead of the gathering of the Police and Fire Scrutiny Panel on Thursday.

A permanent custody suite - a key demand of the Tele’s Protect Our Policing campaign - has won the backing of Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan.

Our campaign is also calling for a public-facing front counter which is open 24 hours every day, and CID, community policing and response policing all being retained at their current levels in Inverclyde.

Retired superintendents Debbie Reilly - a former local area commander - and Andy Murdoch have warned that the loss of a custody suite would result in the district being deprived of officers on the ground for hours at a time because arrested people would have to be taken elsewhere to be processed.

Other Scottish police stations have previously made use of modular custody cells to expand capacity.

In 2012, our sister title the Glasgow Times told how Coatbridge police office in Lanarkshire had expanded the capacity of its facilities by adding 12 extra cells which were able to be moved elsewhere if required.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Our consultation on the future of Greenock police station is ongoing. We recognise the need for a local policing service for the people of Inverclyde and a police presence in the area will continue, albeit perhaps from another site in Inverclyde yet to be determined.

"Matters such as a custody provision will naturally form part of our considerations.

"A variety of options will be looked at and fully considered to satisfy our policing requirements and available budget. Final decisions won’t be made until after the consultation process has concluded and feasibility studies have been completed.

“We would encourage those with a view on policing in the area to take part in our consultation, as their views will help shape our decision making.

"The online consultation on the proposed closure of Greenock Police Station is due to end on 31 March 2024.”

You can the Tele's Protect Our Policing petition here.