Local force is at heart of communities

Commander Gary Ritchie
Commander Gary Ritchie

Galloway’s police commander said this week he is determined to keep the local force working at the heart of communities.

Policing Commander for V Division, Dumfries and Galloway, Chief Superintendent Gary Ritchie. was speaking as a consultation gets underway in Dumfries and Galloway into the force’s Estates Review which is looking at the use of police buildings across the region.

Commander Ritchie has spoken to local elected representatives, council area committees and Community Councils with a view to opening up a meaningful dialogue across all communities in the region about why the force is looking at the use of some of its buildings.

“I am determined to keep police officers working in the communities we police and that we remain strongly rooted in all our local communities, said Commander Ritchie, “This consultation process will therefore provide a real opportunity for the public to influence what shape they want to see the policing of their communities take as we move forward.”

“We need buildings which are modern, flexible and fit for future policing in ten years time across the wide range of communities we serve. Our existing estate has evolved over many, many years and in some cases it no longer fits the demands of 2016 and beyond, nor indeed the needs of our communities. Our strategy is to continue to provide a policing service which has local communities at its heart and which works well with local partners. Good local engagement is therefore very important to us in order that we are able to listen to the thoughts and aspirations of our communities to help shape our future service. With that in mind we are now in the process of using as many opportunities as possible to raise this issue and to listen to the views of our communities. Local officers across the area are right now involved in gathering in the views of the public through a range of opportunities where the public can tell us what they think. Community Councils are a good example of a venue where the open and honest conversation needed on this important issue can take place and officers over the next weeks and months will attend these meetings and report back on the feelings of those attending.

“I would also encourage the public to take the time to let us know what their own thoughts are on the future of the service across Dumfries and Galloway. Despite some fairly sensational media headlines early on in this process I would like to once again make the point that nothing has yet been decided in this review.”