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Town police base faces axe

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By Abbey Morton
Moffat
Town police base faces axe

MOFFAT police station has been earmarked for closure in the latest round of cutbacks.

And last night Dumfries and Galloway Police Division commander Gary Ritchie was set to face the Federation of Community Councils meeting in Lockerbie to answer questions about the potential closure of Moffat, as well as Langholm, Gretna and Thornhill stations.

Speaking this week Oliver Mundell MSP, who sits on the Scottish Government’s justice committee, revealed the upper Annandale base has been added to list of stations which could be locked up and sold.

In a letter to councillors and MSPs, Commander Ritchie listed police stations across the region which ‘meet the criteria for potential rationalisation or change of use with a view to removing them from the local police estate profile’.

Local consultation on the future of stations will now begin, but politicians have voiced their outrage at the treatment of those in more rural towns.

Mr Mundell said: “I am utterly dismayed to hear of further plans to close yet more police stations in rural Dumfriesshire which is a total betrayal of local people.

“The confidence among local people in Police Scotland has already hit rock bottom with the loss of the control room in Dumfries and more police station closures will only further erode that confidence.”

Council leader Ronnie Nicholson has explained he is keen to enter into discussions with Police Scotland to see if sharing premises with council facilities could be an option, if it means keeping a presence in the towns and villages.

He said: “However, Police Scotland would need to be willing to at least part fund such an option if it was viable and be interested in working with the local council, which they certainly weren’t when it came to previous cuts.”

Other stations of the hit-list are Gretna, Langholm, Thornhill, Kirkcudbright, Dalry, Dalbeattie and Whithorn.

Meanwhile Dumfriesshire MP and Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said he believes Police Scotland doesn’t understand the needs of rural communities.

He said: “People living locally should have the same level of service as those living in cities and that means access to a local police station.”

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