Police Station Closures
It is obviously reassuring for an individual and the community to know that there is a local police presence. It’s this very reassurance that gives people the confidence to report crimes or anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood and helps to build relationships and trust with the police.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Port Glasgow and Gourock community councils have reacted with concern to the news that Police Scotland plans to close stations in their communities without proper consultation.
Indeed, Port Glasgow community council has made a number of strong points in favour of keeping these stations open. They argue that the face to face contact is very important in strengthening links between the police and the community they serve, and that if the service was relocated it would be less practical for people to access. They say that the service provided by the police would be more impersonal. They also point out that there is still a substantial demand on the service which has been confirmed by Police Scotland’s survey, which saw one-hundred and thirty members of the public use the Port Glasgow police counter over a thirteen day period.
I agree with these points. Moreover, I am fearful that if the closures go ahead, there is a danger that the public’s confidence to report crimes will be undermined and that police officers’ knowledge of local problems could be lost.
In the face of pressure from opposition MSP’s and the public, Police Scotland climbed down and granted communities thirty additional days to voice their concerns. In the remaining time before the consultation closes Police Scotland must fully engage with these communities and act on their concerns.