Thin blue line of police is getting thinner, says Baillie

Merger plans which will see policing in Helensburgh being run from Paisley have been attacked by a Labour MSP and a candidate for the London parliament.

Police Scotland is expected to remove its local headquarters from Dumbarton, merging the Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Division with Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

Last winter Police Scotland closed Garelochhead’s and Alexandria’s police stations to the public and cut Dumbarton’s 24/7 service to a basic 9-5 weekday service.

This week Dumbarton constituency MSP and her Labour colleague Mary Galbraith, candidate for the Argyll and Bute Westminster seat, issued a joint statement condemning the change.

“This merger will have a profound effect on the future of local services and cannot be brushed aside or dismissed as an ‘operational matter’,” said Jackie.

“It is simply unacceptable that this can be allowed to go ahead without any public consultation and the fact that this change has been communicated to our community via a press release speaks volumes about the breathtaking arrogance of Police Scotland.

“Police Scotland must explain the decision-making process and the reasons behind this announcement.

“The next meeting of the Scottish Police Authority Board is on December 18 and it doesn’t appear that they were even consulted about the change. Just who are the Police accountable to?”

Mary Galbraith said the removal of decision-making from local communities was ‘disgraceful’, adding: “Effective policing that earns the trust of our communities must be local, so taking the headquarters away from our area is a backwards step.”