Pledge given over po­lice sta­tions

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A LO­CAL re­view of po­lice sta­tions may see huge changes for of­fices in Ar­gyll but not the loss of of­fi­cers in spe­cific ar­eas.

News broke on Mon­day that Po­lice Scot­land was con­duct­ing a re­view of prop­er­ties and top of the list were key of­fices in Ar­gyll, in­clud­ing Oban, Camp­bel­town and Lochgilp­head.

While of­fi­cers stressed this was a re­view, MSP John Fin­nie claimed the West Coast could be left with­out any po­lice sta­tions which would lead to a lack of con­fi­dence in the po­lice in the area.

Chief In­spec­tor Mar­lene Bail­lie, area com­man­der for Mid Ar­gyll, Kin­tyre, Oban, Lorn and the Is­lands, said: ‘It is im­por­tant we con­sider how our lo­cal fa­cil­i­ties are used to en­sure Po­lice Scot­land pro­vides a qual­ity ser­vice while con­sid­er­ing the needs and de­mands of our com­mu­ni­ties.

‘ We are con­sult­ing with our lo­cal part­ners and com­mu­ni­ties about the fu­ture use of some po­lice build­ings and of­fices in Ar­gyll as in some cases they may not fit the de­mands of 2016 or the needs of com­mu­ni­ties, and it makes lit­tle sense to main­tain old and ex­pen­sive build­ings when smaller, more col­lab­o­ra­tive op­tions may be avail­able.

‘The cur­rent as­sess­ment of our es­tate lo­cally con­firms that many of our build­ings no longer meet op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments and are ei­ther too big, wrongly lo­cated or un­suit­able for adap­ta­tion to de­liver mod­ern work­ing prac­tices.

‘There are some premises within the area that we would want to re­tain, such as Camp­bel­town po­lice of­fice, but it is clear some build­ings are not be­ing used to their max­i­mum po­ten­tial or are not nec­es­sar­ily fit for pur­pose to sup­port the de­liv­ery of mod­ern polic­ing.

‘ We are con­sult­ing with part­ners and the lo­cal com­mu­nity on a range of op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to us for ar­eas such as Lochgilp­head and Oban, which could in­clude re­lo­ca­tion or shared premises to sup­port the de­liv­ery of joined-up ser­vices to com­mu­ni­ties.

‘How­ever, for the avoid­ance of any doubt which may have been brought about by re­cent re­ports in the na­tional me­dia, we will not be clos­ing the of­fices in ei­ther town un­less we find suit­able al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion in these towns.

‘We are com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing a pres­ence within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties across Ar­gyll. How­ever, it is 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.’

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