Police Community Surgeries in the West End

Last night, at my weekly ward surgery at Blackness Primary School, I had the pleasure of meeting the West End’s new Community Police Inspector, Martin Pattie, and discuss some local matters.    The introduction of locality-based Inspectors is a good initiative by Police Scotland that I discussed with Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Anderson, at a meeting just before Christmas.
The West End already has an excellent Community Police Sergeant in Elise Wilson and she advised me yesterday about another positive initiative in the West End – regular police community surgeries – to quote Sergeant Wilson :
“We are due to launch a police community surgery next month which will then be held every month thereafter: 
Location : Mitchell Street Centre (Room 1)
Time: 1300-1600 hours
Date: 1st Tuesday of every month 
(includes 7/2, 7/3, 4/4, 2/5, 6/6, 4/7, 1/8, 5/9, 3/10, 7/11 and 5/12)
Location : Blackness Library 
Time: 1300-1600 hours
Date: 2nd Monday of every month 
(includes 13/2, 13/3, 10/4, 8/5, 12/6, 10/7, 14/8, 11/9, 9/10, 13/11 and 11/12)
The aim of this will be to engage with the public outwith a police environment which may encourage more people to speak with their local officers in relation to the ongoing issues effecting them directly within their community.”
You can read more about our local West End police team here.

Hope that Ryehill Police Station will not close following community campaign

Yesterday, the Chair of West End Community Council, Peter Menzies, and I met with senior Police Scotland representatives to hand in a petition from 300 West End residents to make the case to retain Ryehill Police Station at the Pennycook Lane/Perth Road junction.
We met with two senior police officers, Superintendent Andrew Todd and Chief Inspector Gary Ogilvie, and stressed that the community is strongly of the view that the Ryehill Police Office is a crucial resource in the West End and closing it would be highly detrimental.   
Peter and I made the point to Police Scotland that a possible way of ensuring that the police office can remain open is to consider additional uses for it through shared use with partner organisations.   That way, the station could continue as a police office but could also be used as a community base for other services, possibly local authority or third sector.
At the meeting, Police Scotland indicated it is prepared to look into the viability of this and while such a proposal can be fully investigated and a long-term solution is developed, it further committed to keeping the Police Office open whilst this proposal is being fully considered.
We are hopeful that a long-term solution can now be found to ensure the Ryehill Police Station is retained.

Stop the closure of Ryehill Police Office!

Earlier today, I was given confirmation by our local police Chief Inspector that Police Scotland intends to consult on the possible closure of the Ryehill Police Office at the Pennycook Lane/Perth Road junction.

I made clear to the Chief Inspector that I am wholly against such a move – the Ryehill Police Office is a crucial resource in the West End and closing it would be highly detrimental.

Later today, at the West End Community Council meeting, I reinforced this view and it is clear there is strong community support to stop any proposal to close this local police office.

The proposal to consult on the closure is just another detrimental example of a centralised single police force. At the time the abolition of Tayside Police was proposed, I warned that the centralisation of police into a single force would lead in time to cuts in local police resources and those who supported the single police force should reflect on the error of centralisation.

Our local police do an excellent job but a nationwide rationalisation of the police estate is a really bad move and I have no doubt the West End community will rally to the cause of saving the Ryehill Police Station.

Police 999 and 101 call responses in Dundee

At tonight’s meeting of the City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, I moved the following motion :

Committee notes, with concern, the decision by the Scottish Police Authority, to transfer all 999 and 101 call responses to three sites located in Bilston Glen, Motherwell and Govan, on or after 21st June 2016.

This will mean the loss of the 999 and 101 Dundee response centre, with the resultant loss of local knowledge in call handling, which committee views as a detrimental step.

Committee therefore instructs the Chief Executive to write to the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority Board and to the Police Scotland Chief Constable expressing concern at this decision and asking for this to be reviewed to allow the call handling of 999 and 101 calls in the Tayside and North Fife areas to be handled by the response centre in Dundee into the future.

My motion was unanimously accepted by committee, subject to a minor amendment to refer to “seeking assurances” rather than “expressing concern” which I was agreeable to, in order to obtain all-party agreement.