Residents counter counter closure

Giffnock police office.
Giffnock police office.

THE FUTURE of police counter services — including Giffnock — was handed a reprieve this week.

The consultation, originally intended to be completed last week, has been extended by 30 days.

SNP West of Scotland MSP Stewart Maxwell continues to support Police Scotland’s proposed changes for policing in East Renfrewshire.

He told The Extra: ”The proposal is for a reduction in hours for the front desk so it’s only open when actually needed.

“What constituents tell me is that they prefer to see police out on the streets at night, rather than stuck behind a desk at 3am”.

Conservative Jackson Carlaw — a West of Scotland MSP — believes more recent data is required before any decisions are made.

He said: “Some of the footfall surveying of police counter visits was undertaken as far back as 2009 and crucially, when other police stations were then open.

“We accept that changed circumstances may justify appropriate reductions.

“However, this wholesale closure is far too widespread and we welcome the extension in the consultation period which we hope members of the public will take full advantage of to make their views clear.

Labour’s Ken Macintosh believes “the anxiety felt by East Renfrewshire residents at this reduction in service and the more general loss of local accountability is clearly shared across Scotland.

The Eastwood MSP added: “Police Scotland needs to take stock and consider whether local policing can really be effective without access to local police stations.

“The extension to the consultation shows Police Scotland is beginning to listen”

Police Scotland say they need to modernise the service and shutting 65 of what they describe as “little-used” counters will help them make efficiency savings in excess of £4m . This would make up some ground in the £64m budget shortfall..