POLICE STATION FACING THE AXE
Anger as top cop reveals new plans
Cambuslang Police Station could be set to close completely, the Reformer can reveal.
However, Rutherglen station will remain open after a review of Police Scotland’s estates.
We reported in November that the two local stations were among dozens across the country being considered for closure.
The area’s new chief inspector, Geraldine McSherry, has now written to politicians and community groups informing them that Police Scotland are seeking opinions on the closure and sale of the Cambuslang facility.
She said retaining both Rutherglen and Cambuslang was “no longer sustainable”. She added: “By making the best use of the property we retain, we will be more efficient and able to make better use of public funds that can be reinvested into frontline policing.”
Cambuslang Community Council, who were due to meet on Tuesday night, confirmed they received the letter and would discuss their reply.
Treasurer John Bachtler said: “This trend towards centralising public and private services is very worrying as it takes employment and services away from town centres and leads to the services becoming remote and less visible and accountable to local communities.
“We know that many people in Cambuslang were opposed to the closure of the front desk of Cambuslang Police Station, and would like to see this reversed. They will be very unhappy to find out that the whole police station is now closing.
“We understand the need to make cost savings, but Police Scotland seem to have forgotten that effective community policing means being part of the
community - not just coming in to carry out patrols but having a physical presence.”
Cambuslang currently houses detective teams covering the local area as well as East Kilbride and Hamilton.
Public access to the building, which only opened in 1994, was stopped in 2014.
The possibility of closing the station has been branded “completely wrong” by Cambuslang West Labour candidate Margaret Walker.
She said: “This represents a further move away from community policing, a commitment the SNP has betrayed time and time again.
“All the evidence tells us that people and communities benefit enormously from a police presence on the ground.
“It discourages crime and antisocial behaviour on the street simply by the fact that it is there, providing a sense of security.”
Clare Haughey MSP accused Labour of “scaremongering” and confirmed she would oppose the closure.
She added: “Police Scotland is seeking views from elected members about the future options for Cambuslang Police Station. There has been no decision to close Cambuslang station at this point.”
With council elections on the horizon, the other parties also had their say.
Norman Rae, who is standing in Cambuslang West for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Services are now becoming more remote from the communities they are supposed to serve.
“This plan to close Cambuslang police station is part of that worrying trend and it must be rejected.”
Ann Le Blond of the Conservatives said: “This is another example of an SNP government’s obsession with centralising services. People in our community, in Cambuslang, deserve services in our local area which are easily accessible.”
And David McClemont, who is standing for the Scottish Greens, said: “Once again decisions that affect Cambuslang are being made elsewhere. This is a concerning development which is part of an increasing trend of centralisation of public services.”
Police Scotland said they intend to consult the community on the potential closure.
Chief Inspector Gavin Russell said: “It is important that we consider how our local facilities are used to ensure Police Scotland provides a quality service whilst considering the needs and demands of our communities.
“At this time we plan to engage with our local partners and communities about the future use of our offices at Rutherglen and Cambuslang, as there are a range of opportunities available to us including relocation and shared premises to support the delivery of joined-up services to communities.
“We are committed to maintaining a presence within the Rutherglen and Cambuslang areas and there will be no change to the way that community police officers patrol both areas and respond to calls. But it’s vital to have an estate that supports modern working practices and also supports the delivery of a local police service that best meets local needs, improves access to the service and reflects the priorities of the area.”
Opposition Margaret Walker, a council candidate for the Cambuslang West ward, is fighting the potential closure of Cambuslang Police Station