MSP launches petition against police station cuts

A petition to save local police stations from plans to close their public counter services has been launched by MSP Jackie Baillie.

The Labour member says the Police Scotland shake-up could make it more difficult to report a crime or seek emergency help in her Dumbarton constituency.

But Stuart McMillan, SNP MSP for West Scotland, has played down the review, stressing that police stations will not close and saying crime levels are falling.

Jackie Baillie with Cllr Michelle McGinty at Alexandria police station

Alexandria and Garelochhead police stations would close their doors to the public while Dumbarton police station would no longer be open 24/7, moving to a 9-5 Monday to Friday service.

Jackie Baillie said the move would be ‘a hammer blow for local policing.’

“People use their local police station for a whole host of reasons, from reporting an incident to handing in lost property,” she added.

“Even those of us who have not visited a station recently will benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that there is a fully-staffed police station nearby open to anyone who needs it.

“There is no doubt that the SNP’s £60m cuts have put the police service under a lot of strain but these closures will not put a single police officer back on the beat.”

Mr McMillan has written to Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan about the issue,  asking if other locations such as the council’s one stop shop had been considered, and said the consultation had started to ‘ensure resources are used in the most effective and efficient way’.

“This follows a review which found that public attendance at front counters has reduced significantly, as other ways of engaging with police services have developed,” he said.

“Scotland is a safer place to live and we see crime at its lowest level for 39 years.  Alongside this. violent crime is down by almost a half since 2006-07 and the risk of being a victim of crime here is falling.

“Nevertheless, I am aware of some concerns raised by members of the public regarding the proposed closures.”

Jackie Baillie’s petition can be signed by by visiting the campaign section of her website, calling 01389 734214 or visiting her office at 11 Castle Street, Dumbarton.