An independent candidate standing for election in East Renfrewshire’s ward three has called for the development of a new emergency services hub, which would mitigate any proposed closures of local police offices.
Police Scotland have been undertaking a review of their local offices, the results of which are still awaited, however it appears likely that the southside will lose at least one of its remaining police stations.
Savio D’Souza former special constable and independent candidate for Giffnock and Thornliebank said: “All other options should be considered first. When plans to close the front counters first emerged three years ago, I chaired a public meeting warning that if a projected further £65 million had to be saved this proposal would be the thin end of the wedge. I am not surprised that further cuts are now being implemented. Emergency services cutting individual budgets in a cocoon rather than working together, is what prompted me to stand in the local election.”
“East Renfrewshire is one of the highest contributing areas of council tax in Scotland. Local people are getting fed up of being expected to pay more and more to get less and less. It is totally unrealistic for many people to pop into the nearest police station when it will be at Govan. We have a lot of pensioners and people who are not comfortable at using social media. Telling them to send an email, use facebook or twitter is not always appropriate”, said Savio.
Commenting further he said: “There needs to be a fresh approach to protect local facilities and amenities. My solution is simple. We have Clarkston Fire Station that is local which could be used as a hub for Police, fire, and ambulance services, victim support and civil contingency services. Five services from five buildings into one saving money whilst still keep a local presence and connections with local people. It can be rebranded as a Civic Response Centre to encourage people to work together as a community again.
“I suggested this to the Chief Constable at the time, Sir Stephen House and the then Chair of the Scottish Police Authority at an SPA meeting that was held in Clarkston Halls, sadly these simple solutions were not followed up at the time nor do they feature in current proposals.
“I know from experience when local police stations close the community feels less safe and crime increases. In the past this may have forced a police station to be reopened. However in the current climate any reversal of a decision looks impossible.
“I am campaigning that East Renfrewshire should be used as a pilot for the scheme that has been successful in other areas. It is important that there is fresh thinking and mindset in the Council to influence this process and represent local concerns as well as ensuring all options are properly considered to save local facilities.”
Police Scotland said: “No announcement has been made yet on the outcome of the estate review.”