Shut­ting cop shop bad idea

Com­mu­nity slams de­ci­sion

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special - Dou­glas Dickie

Cam­bus­lang Com­mu­nity Coun­cil has said the po­ten­tial clo­sure of Cam­bus­lang Po­lice Sta­tion will un­der­mine con­fi­dence in the force.

The com­mu­nity group wrote to Chief In­spec­tor Geral­dine McSherry last week out­lin­ing their op­po­si­tion to the plan.

Chair David Thomson said mem­bers “dis­agree pro­foundly with the pro­posal”.

We re­ported two weeks ago that Chief In­spec­tor McSherry had writ­ten to politi­cians and com­mu­nity groups ask­ing their views on the po­ten­tial clo­sure of the sta­tion.

In the re­sponse let­ter, Mr Thomson says there was a feel­ing lo­cally that the de­ci­sion had al­ready been made de­spite the po­lice say­ing they were look­ing for views.

He adds: “We ap­pre­ci­ate that you are un­der pres­sure of con­strained re­sources and tar­gets, but ra­tio­nal­is­ing the po­lice es­tates in the way that you are propos­ing will do noth­ing to pro­vide re­as­sur­ance to the peo­ple and busi­nesses of Cam­bus­lang.

“It will un­der­mine lo­cal sup­port and con­fi­dence in the po­lice at a time when it is sorely needed and runs counter to your stated com­mit­ment to com­mu­nity polic­ing.”

Mr Thomson also says the de­ci­sion to look at clos­ing the sta­tion with­out con­sid­er­a­tion to the wider com­mu­nity im­pact was a “se­ri­ous pol­icy flaw”.

The let­ter fo­cuses on five ob­jec­tions from the group. Among them is the fact the group’s lo­cal sur­veys sug­gested crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour are ma­jor con­cerns in the town and that the crime rates are above re­gional av­er­ages.

Mr Thomson also states the group be­lieve cen­tral­i­sa­tion will di­min­ish lo­cal ac­count­abil­ity and that a lo­cal of­fice is crit­i­cal to front­line polic­ing.

Lastly, he fo­cuses on the po­ten­tial clo­sure in the wider as­pect of ser­vices leav­ing the town.

Last year it was re­ported Po­lice Scot­land were con­sid­er­ing the fu­tures of 58 sta­tions across Scot­land, in­clud­ing both Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang.

While Cam­bus­lang is set to shut, Ruther­glen will re­main open.

Chief In­spec­tor McSherry said re­tain­ing both Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang was “no longer sus­tain­able”.

The lo­cal branch of the Lib­eral Democrats have also sub­mit­ted a re­sponse say­ing Po­lice Scot­land should keep Cam­bus­lang open.

Nor­man Rae, branch sec­re­tary, said: “Cam­bus­lang is al­ready be­ing badly hit by the loss of the banks and the job cen­tre.

“Clearly the po­lice need to make full use of their po­lice sta­tions so, in our sub­mis­sion to Po­lice Scot­land, we have ar­gued for a com­plete re­think of the po­lice sta­tion clo­sures and full util­i­sa­tion of the two po­lice of­fices, per­haps by co-lo­cat­ing ad­vice ser­vices, med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties or coun­cil emer­gency ser­vices there.”

It will un­der­mine lo­cal con­fi­dence in po­lice

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