After the consultation period ended, Police Scotland are recommending the closure of both Whithorn and Kirkcudbright Police Stations.
In Kirkcudbright, the police service plan to share a facility with the fire and rescue service and at Whithorn the proposal is for the fire and rescue service to take over the building.
In a statement issues today, a police Scotland spokesperson said; “The consultation phase has now closed in the review of the Police Scotland Estate in Dumfries and Galloway which saw an examination in the use of a total of eight local police stations across the Division. The stations, at Gretna, Moffat, Langholm, Thornhill, Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie, Whithorn and Dalry had all been identified as not being essential to local service delivery in the region, and did not therefore represent best value to local communities.
“On Tuesday 7 February, local policing Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Gary Ritchie will present the results of the feedback received through the consultation process to the Police, Fire and Rescue Committee. He will also outline the approach to be recommended for consideration in relation to the future of these stations and alternatives for the provision of services in the affected areas. The report being presented includes an outline of the new policing model which was implemented in October 2016 across the Division, and which highlights the alignment of response resources to concentrated locations which will ensure better supervision, briefing and tasking of these officers. It also details the new approach to community policing which will see community officers better deployed locally and in a more proactive and visible manner. This new policing model has allowed for a robust review of the estate requirement in the Division whereby there is now no requirement for station facilities which previously housed response staff, nor any direct public access to a front counter.
“The report will also outline the future general requirements for facilities in seven out of the eight locations which will be required in order to ensure the new policing model can be delivered in a seamless transition when these stations are eventually disposed of. In the eighth location, Whithorn, the current deployment model would be maintained and therefore there would be no requirement for a local base.
“The preferred options being recommended for consideration are:-
Gretna Police Station be removed from the police estate and alternative provision secured at the Richard Greenhow Centre in Gretna subject to agreement with the Richard Greenhow Management Committee and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Moffat Police Station be removed from the police estate and alternative provision secured at Moffat Town Hall subject to agreement with Moffat Town Hall trust and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Thornhill Police Station be removed from the police estate with part of the facility thereafter rented by the SPA subject to agreement with the new owners.
The facility at Langholm Town Hall be retained.
Kirkcudbright Police Station be removed from the police estate and alternative provision secured at Kirkcudbright Fire Station in agreement with Fire Scotland.
Dalbeattie Police Station be removed from the police estate and alternative provision secured at Dalbeattie Fire Station in agreement with Fire Scotland.
Dalry Police Station be retained.
Whithorn Police Station be removed from the police estate but only if the future of the ambulance provision from this facility is secured either by purchase of the facility by the Scottish Ambulance Service or through some other arrangement.”
Chief Superintendent Ritchie said: “We have completed the most extensive consultation exercise ever undertaken in Dumfries and Galloway Division in respect of the future use of some of our premises. I am grateful to the people who took the time to, not only provide us their views, but also to listen to the plans we are developing in respect of community policing arrangements. I am also grateful to our local partners who have engaged fully with us throughout this process. This has enabled us to come up with creative solutions which absolutely reflects the strong spirit of partnership and collaboration that we see throughout the region.
“Everyone was very honest on their feelings for maintaining a local station in their community but there was also a lot of understanding in respect of the lack of value that some of our current premises presented, especially in light of our new community policing approach. The recommendations I have made in respect of our estate balance these two considerations and I consider this offers the best service potential and value for the communities of Dumfries and Galloway. Although these are recommendations and not final decisions I should stress that no station will be removed from the police estate until the alternative arrangement is in place and on approval from the SPA.”
The Leader of Dumfries adn Galloway Council expressed disappointment at lack of consultation by Police Scotland with the council over the closures
Councillor Nicholson said: “Councillors on the Police Committee had requested an update on the consultation over the possible closure of Police stations in the region. However, the Police Committee appears to have received a ‘take it or leave it’ plan which is disappointing. There has been no meaningful consultation or discussion with the Council over the plan, despite the fact the Police appear to be proposing to use council buildings as an alternative to Police Stations - only they forgot to ask or tell the Council. I suspect if I announced the council were planning on moving into the Police headquarters without discussing the proposal with the Police, it would raise a few eyebrows. The Council will work in partnership with the Police to find solutions but all proposals of like this, the devil is in the detail but Police Scotland haven’t provided any details. We need more information on these proposals and a proper discussion with Police Scotland over options.“