MSP uses Holyrood debate to slam police service cuts

MSP Alex Fergusson has slammed plans to withdraw police desks in Newton Stewart and Kirkcudbright during a Holyrood debate this week.

Following Police Scotland’s controversial moves to close police front desks across the country, Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson said on Monday: “The proposals to close existing part-time stations across the region in Dalry, Gretna, Moffat, Machars and Thornhill has been taken without any consultation whatsoever. Just because those stations had no full time police officials within them does not mean that there very presence gives immense reassurance to the communities in which they are located. That reassurance will disappear along with the police stations.

“As far as the closure of counters in Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbright and Newton Stewart is concerned, it is becoming increasingly clear that the consultation process that preceded these proposals was faulty, as many of the figures used predated 2009. Figures taken from the 13 day review period show that Dalbeattie had over 8 visitors per day, Kirkcudbright more than 10 and Newton Stewart more than 9. I cannot accept that that level of activity justifies closing the interface between the police and those that they seek to serve.

“This increasing centralisation is becoming a hallmark of the SNP Government where justice is concerned. I believe strongly in the delivery of local justice, and in making it easy for people to take part in the justice system. On top of the recent court closures, these latest proposals simply show that Police Scotland and the Scottish Government are undermining the local nature of the delivery of justice and people’s willingness to engage in the system.”