MSP’s fears for future of police stations

Plans to close Garelochhead’s police station to the public have been revealed by the newly-formed Police Scotland.

MSP Jackie Baillie has already hit out at the shake-up of police services, which could see the front desks at Alexandria and Garelochhead police stations will shut – potentially leading to the stations themselves shutting, she said

The 24-hour service in Dumbarton is also under threat with police chiefs considering closing the front desk outside office hours and during the weekends.

However the Dumbarton Constituency MSP says the future for Helensburgh station is less clear, with the proposal only planning on retaining the current level of service “for the foreseeable future”.

She has asked for an urgent meeting with Police Scotland to discuss the proposals but said the cuts were a result of SNP budget choices.

Jackie said: “These proposed closures are the latest in a long line of service cuts which have seen police officers go from the beat to the back office to make up for declining numbers of support staff.

“Police services should be face-to-face and rooted in the local community so that’s why I am seeking an urgent meeting with Police Scotland to make my concerns known. ”

Commenting on the proposal to classify Helensburgh police station as a Category C service, she continued: “Given the recent tensions in the Helensburgh community as a result of the Sharkey case, it is only right that current service levels at the station should be maintained.

“However local people will be worried that Police Scotland are only proposing to keep the front desk open during evenings and weekends ‘for the foreseeable future’.

“People who live in a town the size of Helensburgh expect to have a properly staffed police station which is open to the public. And frankly the people in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven expect the same. ”

Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson today issued a statement defending the nationwide review, saying there would be a four-week consultation period, while information on the proposals has been loaded onto the Police Scotland website and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

“There is only one point that I would like to make absolutely clear,” he said.

“This salient point is that my review of the public counter provision is definitely not about closing entire police station buildings.

“My review is about rationalising the front counter provision and making front counter opening hours consistent across the country and it’s absolutely geared toward meeting local demand.

“It’s also about keeping as many police officers as possible out on the street, where they belong, keeping people safe”

The public can comment via a dedicated email address – publiccounterreview@Scotland.pnn.police.uk

The full proposals for this area, including information about the level of use at individual stations is in this document:  argyll-west-dunbartonshire-l-public-briefing-report

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