Local MSP Jackie Baillie and MP Gemma Doyle have joined forces to condemn the ongoing centralisation of local police services as it emerged that Police Scotland is set to remove its local headquarters from Dumbarton.
Police Scotland is expected to announce plans to merge the Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Division with Renfrewshire and Inverclyde which would result in local policing in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh being run from Paisley.
Last winter Police Scotland unveiled plans to close Alexandria and Garelochhead’s police stations to the public and cut Dumbarton’s 24/7 service to a basic 9-5 weekday service. At the time Jackie Baillie MSP warned that the closures would lead to a series of further cuts to local policing and led a campaign against the proposals.
“This merger will have a profound effect on the future of local services and cannot be brushed aside or dismissed as an ‘operational matter’. 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 18 December and it doesn’t appear that they were even consulted about the change. Just who are the Police accountable to?
“This is the latest in a long line of cuts and closures affecting services in Dumbarton, Alexandria and Helensburgh. We used to have the traffic police based at Garshake and earlier this year we saw desk closures and cutbacks at police stations in Dumbarton, Alexandria and Garelochhead. Last year I warned that the thin blue line was getting thinner. Now that we know Police Scotland is planning to close its Dumbarton HQ, how much longer will it be before there is an impact on local policing?
“I will be writing to the SNP Justice Secretary to ask him to intervene as a matter of urgency.”
West Dunbartonshire MP Gemma Doyle said:
“It is absolutely ludicrous that this merger is happening without any consultation whatsoever.
“Local people will quite rightly be angry about jobs being moved out the area and the impact on local policing and their safety.
“The SNP are clearly spending too much time couped up in Holyrood with no clue about the geography of the West of Scotland if they are happy to let this go ahead and ride roughshod over local wishes.”