Local MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed a partial victory for local campaigners after Police Scotland announced that Dumbarton Police Office would remain open.
The MSP launched a high-profile campaign last year when Police Scotland’s plans to transfer responsibility for local policing from Dumbarton Police Office to Paisley threatened the future of the only fully-operational police station in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven. The head of Police Scotland, Sir Stephen House, told The Herald newspaper only last month that he wanted to sell the police station to make up for cuts to police budgets.
During the consultation process police bosses would only commit to maintaining a ‘presence’ in Dumbarton by sharing offices with West Dunbartonshire Council. However this failed to convince local residents who were still angry about Police Scotland’s failure to deliver on similar promises made before the closure of the front counter at Alexandria Police Station in March 2014.
The u-turn comes after more than 1,700 people signed a petition against the closure and a string of Freedom of Information requests from Jackie Baillie on the future of police services in Dumbarton.
“This is a partial victory for everyone in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven who cares about local policing and I am delighted that our campaign has been successful so far. It was only a few weeks ago that Sir Stephen House told journalists that he was still prepared to rush these plans through despite huge opposition from members of the public and from his own police officers in Dumbarton.
“I would like to thank the hundreds of people who signed the Save Our Police Station petition and the many serving and retired police officers who spoke out about their concerns. Our local police officers do a fantastic job and we did not want to make that job even more difficult than it already is.
“While the future of our local police station seems more certain, the devil will be in the detail and we are at this stage unaware of what services will remain on this side of the river. I will be seeking clarification from Sir Stephen House as to what exactly will be at the Dumbarton Police Office as it now looks very likely that for the first time ever the police headquarters for Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire will be moved south of the river to Paisley. I have no doubt that there will be more challenges to come for local policing and it is important that we as a community remain vigilant to protect public services in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh.”