FOUR additional police officers have been reinstated at Cairnryan’s ferry terminal in a u-turn on cuts which were strongly opposed by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary last year.
Chief Constable Patrick Shearer had been fighting for cash to provide officers at the port, which has been recognised as a target for illegal immigration.
But MP Russell Brown said this week that four officers wasn’t enough, following the UK Border Agency cuts which saw the equivalent of 14.5 posts gone.
He said that local people “won’t be fooled” by the SNP’s announcement.
“While I welcome the announcement, it is too little, too late. The SNP Government are putting back less than a third of the 14.5 officers they have cut from the ports unit over the last couple of years. Local people won’t be fooled by the Government’s attempts to dress this up as additional officers, when in reality, it simply means their huge cut is made slightly less severe. They aren’t returning our ports to the policing levels they had before the SNP cut, let alone providing sufficient resources to deal with the expected rise in traffic. Yet again Dumfries and Galloway isn’t getting its fair share from the Scottish Government.
“Rather than half-hearted announcements like this, the SNP should be reinstating all the police officer cuts they have imposed on our ports. Along with the very real terrorist threat, it is becoming increasingly clear we are just scratching the surface of the illegal immigration problem at the ports. There are also serious issues about the smuggling of counterfeit goods and illegal drugs through the ports.”
But SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod welcomed the move and said it proves Home Secretary Theresa May is wrong to allege that Scotland would be open to mass immigration with independence.
Dr McLeod added: “Indeed it was the height of hypocrisy for Theresa May to make a speech at the weekend just up the road in Troon in which she alleged that an independent Scotland would be opened up to mass immigration.
“The fact of course is that she was responsible for cutting the UK Border Agency’s presence in Stranraer completely in spite of strong opposition from the local Council, including the Tory Chair of the Police and Fire Committee.
“Not only that, Theresa May refused to visit Stranraer when invited by local politicians to discuss their concerns and get a first-hand understanding of the situation for herself.
“Once again, the Scottish Government is filling the gap left by a Tory cut – another demonstration of why the Tories in Westminster won’t look out for Scotland’s interests.”