Opposing cuts to police-community links in Dundee

30 October 2013

The Labour group on Dundee City Council has made a submission to the Police Scotland consultation on the provision of the public counter service at police stations .

Councillor Lesley Brennan had drawn up a motion which she asked to be placed before the council for debate on Monday past (28th. October)

The text of her motion reads :

"That this council notes the review being undertaken by Police Scotland of public counter services ; expresses its concern that at the Maryfield Police station and at the Longhaugh Police station , the counter service provision is recommended for closure; notes further with concern the reduction in the number of hours of the counter service at both the Lochee and Downfield stations;  and calls upon the council to inform Police Scotland that the council expresses its opposition to its proposed changes to the police counter service in Dundee. "

Councillor Brennan asked for this motion to be placed before the council for debate on Monday ( 28th. October) .

However, SNP administration leader Ken Guild rejected the inclusion of the motion for debate saying that it could not “ be regarded as a last minute emergency”

In response, Councillor Brennan said,

Angus Council passed a motion expressing its disappointment at the proposed changes for their areas.

“ My motion was an opportunity for the council in Dundee to stand up and say that , as a collective body representing the people of this city, it would express its opposition to the proposed changes for Dundee.

“However, the administration of Dundee City Council has missed the opportunity to say so."

" Community policing needs to retain the link between the police and the public that the counter service provides.”

 Councillor Brennan continued :

 “Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said in June of last year that the passage of the legislation that brought into being the single service of the Police Force :

 ‘Let me be absolutely clear. Our plans will make police provision more efficient and effective. They will ensure more equal access to specialist and national services and strengthen the connection with communities.’

“The proposal  to close the counter services at Maryfield and Longhaugh will not make the service more efficient and effective.

“Nor will it ‘strengthen the connection with communities’ that the police service has. 

"The public counter facilities are a vital link that connects the community with the police , and to close down that service will do the opposite of strengthening the police connection with the community.

"It would make it more difficult for a range of requests to be addressed such as in emergency situations, appointments , and providing evidence of documentation . "

Councillor Georgia Cruickshank , Councillor for Maryfield , said :

"I believe that Police Scotland must think again about its proposal to close the public  counter at Maryfield police station.

"I do not believe that this is the best way forward for community policing in an area of Dundee the size of Maryfield .

"The presence of a police station in their area providing important services gives many people peace of mind.

"The higher the presence of the police service in the area , the stronger the deterrent effect is.

"For these reasons we need to maintain the public counter at Maryfield."

Councillor Brian Gordon, Councillor for the North East ward in which the Longhaugh station is situated, said :

"The Longhaugh police station serves large communities such as Fintry and Whitfield.

"I think that people in these communities would prefer the re-assurance of having the counter service remaining there.

"This is because quite a few people prefer to contact the police in person rather than report a matter over the phone or via the Internet particularly if they feel vulnerable or feel threatened.

"The proposals to reduce a service such as the public service counter from 9 hours a day to zero cuts the access that members of the public have to the police service in their community."