Cop shops might shut overnight

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A POLICE Scotland report suggesting reduced opening hours for local stations has been blasted by politicians.

The review, published last week, includes Giffnock police office, which is currently open 24 hours a day.

Each has been categorised based on recent use, with Giffnock in category B — recommended to open between 7am and midnight, seven days a week.

There are further recommendations for Cathcart and Pollok stations to convert to the same hours, as well as a category C listing for Barrhead (8am-6pm) and category D (9am-5pm) for Pollokshaws.

Chief inspector Campbell Crawford, area commander for East Ren, told The Extra: “The proposals are not about closing police offices — it’s about moving resources to maximise police service within the community, and matching them to demand.”

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy and MSP Ken Macintosh had previously campaigned to Police Scotland chief constable Stephen House to maintain Giffnock station’s 24-hour service.

This week, Mr Macintosh added: “It is difficult to see how limiting the hours local people can use Giffnock police station does anything other than reduce the service we receive here in East Ren.”

West of Scotland MSP Jackson Carlaw has called for a public consultation.

He told The Extra: “These facilities are vital in maintaining connection with local people.

“A decision of this magnitude should be open to full public consultation — not just police staff. That is not good enough when you consider scores of police service counters will vanish.”

However, West of Scotland MSP and SNP man Stewart Maxwell defends the plan.

He commented: “My constituents tell me they would rather see police officers out on the streets keeping communities safe at night, rather than stuck behind a desk.

“There has been a significant reduction in visits by the public to police stations in recent years, with people preferring telephone, email or even social media to engage with police services.”

Police Scotland has now launched a four-week long, internal consultation.

Commenting on the proposal in August, Twitter follower @Nish1974 said: “What happens when we need immediate response? This possible decision is crazy and life-threatening.”

This week, Karen Minnery agreed, adding: “We need our police station open 24 hours”.

What do you think? Share your thoughts by emailing Gillian, or on Facebook (/ExtraSouthside) and Twitter (@ExtraSouthside).