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Region has lowest police numbers

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By Fiona Reid
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Region has lowest police numbers

POLICE numbers in Dumfries and Galloway are the lowest in Scotland, it was revealed yesterday.

But the region’s newly appointed police boss insisted he’s satisfied with the size of his workforce, but also admitted recruitment is a priority.

Councillors meeting in Dumfries noted that there are ‘around 320’ officers currently covering Dumfries and Galloway, known as V Division, and one of the most rural areas of Scotland.

And they have to look after a geographical area that is 100 miles east to west and 60 miles north to south.

New chief superintendent John Cairns appeared at the Dumfries and Galloway full council meeting to discuss the local policing plan update report for 2023.

Questioning him, Lochar Councillor Linda Dorward said: “Dumfries and Galloway is the third biggest region in Scotland, yet it has the lowest amount of police officers.

“And in this report, it says around

320 officers. I note that recently across Scotland we’ve lost 800 police officers on the ground in the past few years, which is not great.

“Do you see consequent cuts being made to V Division in Dumfries and Galloway? If so, do you think we have sufficient numbers to continue policing what is – in the main – a very rural area?”

Chief superintendent Cairns said: “To give reassurance to members and colleagues, what I will say is that we are still recruiting in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Recruitment and retention is one of my priority areas, and focus, at the moment.

“Recruitment will look at people who are looking to come to Dumfries and Galloway, and we’ll prioritise that. Recently we have enabled a more streamlined recruitment process.”

He added: “In my role as policing commander, I’m satisfied with the level of resource that I have, but I’m keen to get more people through the door in terms of recruitment.

“Due to the pandemic, there were some delays in recruitment, and also due to the recent changes in pensions we’ve also lost one or two people that we weren’t anticipating losing.”

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