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MSP seeks answers on police cuts

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By Fiona Reid
MSP seeks answers on police cuts

URGENT talks are being demanded about cuts in policing numbers after it emerged this region has been the worst hit in Scotland.

Statistics show that Dumfries and Galloway has lost 14 per cent of its officers in little more than three years.

And now Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson wants to meet police chiefs and find out what’s going on.

He said: “Rural communities like the one I represent have borne the brunt of savage SNP cuts to our police force year after year.

“The SNP’s centralisation of the Scottish police force has resulted in fewer officers patrolling our communities.

“I have even received correspondence from officers themselves voicing deep concerns over manpower numbers.”

He added: “It is truly shocking that in just a few years the number of serving officers in Dumfries and Galloway is down by almost a sixth.”

Meanwhile, serious concerns have been raised that the cuts are putting public safety and officers in danger.

Scottish Police Federation general secretary David Kennedy said: “It damages the bond with communities.

“Community officers go to events, get to know children, the parents and they get to know the criminals.

“This all makes a positive difference, but when you take it away the barriers come up and rather than policing by consent, it becomes a force rather than a service.”

He continued: “For the officers themselves, the eradication of the frontline means it’s a struggle for them to get their annual leave and go to the events in the community that are so important.

“We’re not a pro-active service any more, it’s just reactive, and that makes a difference in the longer term.”

However, new Chief Constable Jo Farrell insisted: “Despite the funding pressures we’re facing, communities should be reassured that we are doing everything possible to direct resources to areas which encounter the greatest demand, and which carry the greatest risk, and that we continue to effectively reduce harm and protect the vulnerable.”

Dumfries and West, Front

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