Police Scotland should take urgent action to protect opening hours at local police stations. That’s the message local MSP Jackie Baillie will deliver to the head of Police of Scotland, Sir Stephen House, at a meeting on Monday.
Official figures obtained by Jackie earlier this month show that Helensburgh Police Station was closed to the public on thirteen separate occasions during its advertised opening hours in March and April and local residents have confirmed that the East King Street office continues to be shut during scheduled opening times.
The Helensburgh and Lomond MSP has been informed by constituents that the police station was closed early again on Friday 12 June and Monday 15 June. On Friday the station closed five hours early and on Monday it closed two hours early. At least three people were standing outside on the street on Friday evening unable to access the police station despite being informed by Police Scotland’s 101 telephone service that the office was open.
Jackie is meeting Sir Stephen House on Monday 22 June to discuss controversial plans to transfer the Divisional policing HQ from Dumbarton to Paisley. She has called on Police Scotland to scrap its proposals after failing to convince people in Dumbarton constituency that further centralisation would benefit local policing.
“These closures are happening so frequently now at Helensburgh Police Station that the official opening hours notice has become practically meaningless. It is very clear that Police Scotland does not have enough resources in Helensburgh to provide the right number of police officers and civilian staff to cover the police station and respond to operational demands.
“Sir Stephen House has warned that more cuts to police budgets will have an impact on frontline duties and but we know now that this is already the case in Helensburgh. Police Scotland must come up with a new strategy to protect local policing and maintain access to police stations. Centralising police services south of the River Clyde in Paisley is not the answer