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Ideas sought for new Moffat police base

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By Fiona Reid
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AN appeal to find a new base for Moffat police has been launched — but the station’s fate is yet to be sealed.

In September it was announced that Moffat Police Station could face closure, along with Langholm, Gretna and Thornhill stations.

And this week a consultation was held in Moffat to discuss the future of policing in the town. Community Police Inspector for Dumfriesshire Gordon McKnight was in attendance, along with Sergeant Anna Boyd and PC John Cowan.

They issued an appeal for ideas on where to base officers in Moffat if the closure of the station is given the go-ahead and requested feedback from the community.

However, the trio were also keen to emphasis that no formal decision has yet been made and that the closure of the station would not equal less police presence in the town.

Inspector McKnight said: “The main point of this this review is to make our services as efficient as possible.

“And the key message is there will be no reduction or change to policing.” Currently Moffat Police Station has no set opening hours.

And PC Cowan said: “There can be days at a time when the door doesn’t open at the station, sometimes as much as a week.

“We don’t get very many people just walking in.”

Despite the assurances, locals are worried thatalack of station presence could lead to a spark in crime.

Community councillor Don Gillespie said: “It’s not just about accessibility and being able to access a police station, it’s about visibility.

“Having a police station in a town helps deter crime. If people see a police station they might think twice before doing something bad.”

His view was echoed by member Mandy Layden who worried thatalack of police presence in Langholm resulted in a recent bank robbery there.

Speaking after the meeting, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell stated that he is firmly against the proposals.

He said: “I appreciate the argument that things can be done better, but I worry that any reduction in the estate will be used as an excuse for further cuts in the future.

“I would therefore urge all residents in Moffat and the surrounding area to make their voices heard in the consultation making it clear they wish to still see a police base in the heart of the town.

“In rural areas, having easy access to police officers is absolutely paramount but unfortunately since the creation of Police Scotland local policing has been anything butapriority.

“I would hope that if a loud voice is made by the community in Moffat, then hopefullyaresolution that meets the needs of the community can be found.”

■ Inspector Gordon McKnight is urging locals to submit their feedback and suggestions to him by emailing [email protected]. police.uk with the email subject Moffat Police Station.

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