South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway police stations' future examined

Police stations Image copyright Other

Consultation is to start across Dumfries and Galloway over the future of eight police stations.

Ch Supt Gary Ritchie said they needed facilities which were "modern, flexible and fit for future policing".

Labour MSP Colin Smyth voiced concerns over the "hit list" of Whithorn, Dalry, Moffat, Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie, Gretna, Thornhill and Langholm.

Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell said he was "dismayed" by any closure threat in his Dumfriesshire constituency.

Police Scotland said the move was part of a wider look at resources across Scotland.

"The Police Scotland estate strategy is focussed on providing facilities which will support the provision of quality policing to local communities across the Dumfries and Galloway area," said Ch Supt Ritchie.

"This means that we need to consider the viability and suitability of some of our property.

"At this time we are considering whether some of our buildings match service demand.

"Before we progress with any options, we will engage with partners and local communities to discuss how we can best use our existing estate or alternative locations to support the delivery of local policing services."

Image copyright Oliver Mundell
Image caption Oliver Mundell said he was "utterly dismayed" by the plans which could see the closure of police stations

Mr Smyth said few people would be surprised by the proposals due to a "lack of funding and relentless drive towards centralisation".

"Having reduced other police services in the region, it was inevitable that there would soon be a hit list of stations facing closure," he said.

"People really do need to wake up to the extent of the damage being done by the chronic underfunding of our public services by the government."

He said reduced services at stations had "partly created" the fall in use being used to justify potential closure.

'Lip service'

Mr Mundell said: "I am utterly dismayed to hear of further plans to close yet more police stations in rural Dumfriesshire which is a total betrayal of local people.

"The confidence among local people in Police Scotland has already hit rock bottom with the loss of the control room in Dumfries and more police station closures will only further erode that confidence."

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Ronnie Nicholson said he was worried Police Scotland had a history of "only paying lip service" to consultation.

"The concern with the Police Scotland proposals is that they could lead to a complete end of any physical police base in the communities affected," he said.

"I would be happy to enter into discussions with Police Scotland to see if we could work with them in some of the communities being hit by these latest cuts with a view to them sharing council properties if it means keeping a presence in the towns or villages.

"However, Police Scotland would need to be willing to at least part-fund such an option if it was viable and be interested in working with the local council, which they certainly weren't when it came to previous cuts."

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