The Scottish Government must ensure that the voices of people in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven are heard before Police Scotland ploughs ahead with its plans to centralise local police services.
That’s the message from local MSP Jackie Baillie and Gemma Doyle MP who have requested meetings with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, and the head of Police Scotland, Sir Stephen House.
At First Minister’s Questions Jackie Baillie asked Nicola Sturgeon to ensure that local representatives can meet with the Justice Secretary before any decision is made on proposals to merge West Dunbartonshire’s local policing division with Renfrewshire and Inverclyde. She also raised concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the merger which has seen Police Scotland refuse to answer Freedom of Information requests and fail to commit to publishing the results of its consultation.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“Gemma Doyle MP and I wrote to the Justice Secretary and Police Scotland nearly three weeks ago so it is disappointing that they have not yet agreed to our request to meet with local representatives. This merger is a threat to the future of policing in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven and comes hot on the heels of the closure of Alexandria Police Station’s counter last year so it is vital that the voices of local people are heard. I am glad that the First Minister has agreed that the Justice Secretary will meet with us and I hope the government will listen to local concerns.”
Gemma Doyle MP added:
“Police Scotland’s centralisation plans have been shrouded in secrecy since news of the merger was leaked in December. People in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven want to know what will happen to our local police station if the headquarters are transferred to Paisley but Police Scotland have refused to provide a straight answer.”