CONCERNS have been expressed about a fall in policing numbers in Dumfries and Galloway.
New figures from Police Scotland show there are currently 345 officers in the region.
That’s down from 401, say Labour councillors.
Their spokesperson Cllr Linda Dorward says there has been a 16 per cent drop locally in the three years to March 2023.
She said: “These cuts are part of a bigger picture across the justice sector in Scotland which has historically been treated as the “Cinderella Service” in terms of resourcing by Scottish Government. As a former prison governor, I can attest to the fact that real term budget cuts in the sector don’t always elicit the public outcry that real term cuts to other sectors would.
“A significant reduction in manpower has taken place all over Scotland since the merging of 13 police forces. More than 640 officers having been cut from frontline duties since the SNP created the single national police authority, over ten years ago. In May 2022, the number of police officers fell below 17,000 for the first time since 2008 and Dumfries and Galloway have seen one of the largest reductions of police officers in the country.”
She believes it’s “not surprising” that, due to a significant reduction in real terms resourcing, the division’s Chief Superintendent Carol McGuire has a difficult task. adding: “The SNP/Green Government need to do better for regional policing and must ensure the same focus is applied to the distinct challenges faced by rural regions as they devote to urban policing.”
Describing the set up in Dumfries and Galloway (V Division), a Police Scotland report said: “Local police officer resources are the core complement of officers under the direction of the local commander and include community policing, response policing and divisional road policing teams.
“In the Dumfries and Galloway division, the total local resource complement is 345 officers.
“Included in the local resource figures are officers within the Divisional Criminal Investigation Department and public protection units. This includes specialised officers attached to divisional rape investigation units, domestic abuse investigation units and divisional violence reduction units.
“Local police officer resources are supplemented by specialist resources at a regional and national level which each commander has access to.
“As well as these specialist resources, the division can also request additional support to police large scale events or major incidents.”