NEWS FROM DG LABOUR
MONDAY 3 OCTOBER
CONCERNS EXPRESSED OVER POLICE STATION “HIT LIST” RAISED WITH SCOTTISH CABINET SECRETARY FOR JUSTICE
Concerns over the future of eight Police Stations across Dumfries and Galloway, have been raised in the Scottish Parliament by South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The local MSP questioned Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson over Police Scotland proposals that could see the closure of Police stations in Whithorn, Moffat, Dalry, Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie, Gretna, Thornhill and Langholm will now begin.
Speaking at Justice Questions in the Parliament Colin Smyth asked Mr Matheson:
“Does the Cabinet Secretary for Justice accept that the cost-cutting proposals from Police Scotland to close eight police station in Dumfries and Galloway—on the back of the closure of the police control room, the scrapping of traffic wardens, the closure of public counters in numerous police stations, the cut in opening hours and the massive cull of civilian staff posts—will be a further erosion of services for the people of Dumfries and Galloway? Will he acknowledge that it is peripheral and largely rural regions in areas such as the south of Scotland that lose out most as a result of the Government’s obsession with centralising police services?”
Meanwhile, local Labour politicians have held talks with Chief Superintendent Gary Ritchie, Divisional Commander for Dumfries and Galloway over the planned closures. The Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council urged the Divisional Commander to ensure an open and transparent consultation process and urged Police Scotland to work with the council to consider alternative options to the complete removal of stations, including sharing facilities.
Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said:
“We made it absolutely clear to Police Scotland that we wanted to see an open and transparent consultation process over the future of these stations. That didn’t happen when Police Scotland scrapped traffic wardens, closed the police control room in Dumfries and axed Police Counters. I’m pleased Chief Superintendent Ritchie gave a commitment that he would do all he could to carry out a robust local consultation starting at the next meeting of the Council’s Police, Fire and Rescue Sub Committee on 11 October”.
“We all recognise that the Police face similar financial challenges as the council due to Government cuts, but we are prepared to discuss with Police Scotland options such as sharing properties if it means keeping a presence in the towns or villages. That already happens for example in Langholm where there is a police presence in the town hall and we need to look at ways in which similar arrangements could be put in place should the Police go ahead with closures”.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
The full Scottish Parliament question and answer can be read here