GOVERNMENT claims that the centralisation of policing in Scotland will maintain a locally responsive police service in Dumfries and Galloway have been branded as empty rhetoric by Galloway Liberal Democrats.
The attack follows the latest round of appointments to the new centralised national police force, Police Scotland, which will see the person with overall responsibility for local policing in the region being based in the central belt, and Dumfries and Galloway being lumped in with Strathclyde for local policing control.
Three “local policing” assistant chief constable posts are being created across the country – covering the west, east and north of the country. Dumfries and Galloway looks set to be absorbed into a west region along with Strathclyde.
The £100,000 a year local policing west post has been given to Wayne Mawson, from Glasgow. It is one of six assistant chief constable posts being created, representing an annual wages bill of around £600,000. Five of the six posts announced have gone to staff currently with central belt police forces.
A spokesman for Galloway Liberal Democrats said: “It was clear from the outset that the SNP’s decision to scrap well respected local police forces, including Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, and replace them with a single centralised national Scottish force would be bad for the region, but even we didn’t expect it to be this damaging. Every month we see a new announcement that transfers yet more control for our policing from locally responsible and accountable staff to highly paid officers based in the central belt.
“Currently we have our own chief constable and other senior officers whose sole responsibility is to protect the people of Dumfries and Galloway.
“The top three tiers of officers in the new centralised national force have now been announced and we are yet to see any evidence that the distinct policing needs of rural Dumfries and Galloway feature in the plans at all.
“Galloway residents will not forget or forgive the SNP government which has made a political decision to systematically dismantle our locally controlled and accountable public services.
“Meanwhile, the economy of the region will suffer untold damage as well paid jobs are shipped off to the central belt with taxpayers in the region expected to continue to foot the bill.”