Jackie Baillie MSP and Gemma Doyle MP have hit out at the SNP following their refusal to condemn plans for a controversial shake-up of police services which could result in the closure of Dumbarton Police Office.
In December Police Scotland announced proposals to merge the local police division with Renfrewshire & Inverclyde Division. The plans could result in the centralisation of police services south of the River Clyde with local policing operations being run from Paisley. If that happens then the closure of the Police HQ at Garshake will follow.
The Labour MP and MSP met with Police Scotland before Christmas to outline their strong objections to the proposals.
Ms Doyle and Ms Baillie also wrote to SNP Justice Minister Michael Matheson to ask him to protect local police services in Dumbarton and the Vale and stop the merger going ahead. However the Minister refused to intervene. In his reply he told the MP and MSP that the merger intended to “strengthen the divisional command over a larger area”.
“It is quite frankly astonishing that the SNP Government has refused to halt plans for even more centralisation of police services. Local residents have already lost a number of police services, including the removal of traffic police and cuts to opening hours at police stations in Dumbarton and the Vale. How many more services will be cut before local policing is affected?”
“A number of serving and retired police officers have already been in touch to share their concerns about the proposals. The SNP Justice Minister might believe that centralisation is the way forward but this is not the view I am hearing from residents or from local police officers on the beat in Dumbarton and the Vale. Our police officers do a difficult job already – why would we want to make it harder?”<