Petition against merger plans handed to police chiefs

Jackie Baillie (right) and Gemma Doyle say the merger would 'rip the heart out of local policing'.
Jackie Baillie (right) and Gemma Doyle say the merger would ‘rip the heart out of local policing’.

A petition signed by more than 1,500 people has been handed to Police Scotland in a bid to stop the force’s controversial merger plans.

MSP Jackie Baillie and MP Gemma Doyle say the merger, which would see police headquarters being moved from Dumbarton, would create one of the largest policing divisions in Scotland serving almost 450,000 people across 3,100 square miles stretching from the outskirts of Glasgow to the island of Tiree.

The Labour politicians have demanded clarity over the plans, adding that despite several requests from concerned residents at a recent public meeting, Police Scotland could not say where police officers in Dumbarton would be based when they sell the land at Garshake to housing developers, as indicated in the local plan.

They also refused to release details about the merger to the public despite a Freedom of Information request.

Jackie Baillie has requested a review following the decision to withhold three quarters of the documents, containing important information on costs and timescales.

In the interests of transparency, the MP and MSP are also urging Police Scotland to publish the consultation responses before making any decision on the merger.

Jackie Baillie said: “Transparency and accountability are vital when making decisions on the future of public services, but Police Scotland have failed to be honest with the public about their centralisation plans.

“There has been an overwhelming response to our petition from people in Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh and we have been contacted by many serving police officers in Dumbarton who share our concerns.”

Last winter Police Scotland closed the front desk at Garelochhead police station and cut Dumbarton’s 24/7 service.

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