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McInnes calls on Police to reconsider counter closure plans

October 29, 2013 11:39 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes hasAlison McInnesAlison McInnes called on Police Scotland to reconsider counter closure plans ahead of a consultation on matter closing later this week. In her consultation submission to Police Scotland Ms McInnes highlighted that community councils had not been informed of the changes to policing in their local area.

Police Scotland has been running a short consultation on its plans which would see 70 police counters shut its doors to the public. Members of the public can submit their opinion on these plans through e-mail, ahead of the consultations closing date on the 31st October. Liberal Democrats have criticised the short timeframe for the consultation and warned that the in which it is being run through e-mail only could shut a number of people out of the process.

Alison McInnes has called for a full and formal consultation on the changes.

In the submission Ms McInnes says:

"These proposals could have a real impact upon long-established links between police and our communities. I believe they will lead to the erosion of community policing, a scaling back of the permanent presence of local police officers in local communities, and risk turning Police Scotland into a faceless organisation.

"People rightly value being able to report issues directly to their local police station. Now it seems that some people will have no option but to make a phone call to a remote call centre and speak to an operator who will not boast the same depth of local knowledge as local officers.

[…]

"I also understand that community councils have not been informed of the changes in their local areas or invited to comment. Indeed, I have already been told of a number that would like to have received a formal invitation to comment on the proposals and to be advised of future progress. Will Police Scotland therefore write to community councils across Scotland to ensure that, as the most local tier of statutory representation, they are informed of developments and aware of the current opportunity to submit their comments for consideration?

[…]

"Finally, it is also not clear whether the submissions and results of the consultation will be fully published, accompanied by the appropriate analysis.

"I therefore once again urge Police Scotland to agree to hold a full and formal consultation on the proposed changes and commit to making the findings public. "