Police office facing axe in force review

A community could lose its police office in a cost-cutting review which has placed dozens of similar buildings under threat.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 10th November 2016, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:58 pm

Police Scotland has drawn up a list of 58 premises which could be closed as part of a wide ranging review.

It hopes to make its estate more “modern, flexible and fit for future policing across Scotland”.

The news about the Bainsford office was only revealed after a freedom of information request from the BBC, leading to accusations that local communities were being left out of the loop.

The station in Brodie Street is rarely staffed and not open to the public.

The proposals would see staff being relocated to Dawson Housing Office in nearby Davids Loan, alongside housing services and council staff in a more “collaborative” approach.

However, although Bainsford is on the list, the force insist no final decision has been taken and it could still remain open following a review.

Labour councillor for Falkirk North Craig Martin hit out at the potential move, he said: “It is deeply worrying to hear that Bainsford police station is to close. The station provides reassurance and security for the Bainsford and Langlees area and I will be asking Police Scotland to look at this again.

“Local policing has been near scrapped since the SNP government centralised the police; local bobbies were taken off the beat, the police stopped supporting Falkirk CCTV cameras, withdrew Falkirk traffic wardens and now are shutting local stations. Ripping police stations out of communities is going to further erode local police presence and trust.

“Our local police constables do an excellent job but are being undermined by cuts to police staff, cars held together by sticky tape and a centralising agenda all to meet the cuts imposed by the SNP government on Police Scotland.

“It is time our MSP, Michael Matheson, the justice minister, started to stand up for Falkirk.”

However, SNP councillor Cecil Meiklejohn for Falkirk North defended the potential closure. “The vast majority of police time is spent in the community and I would much rather see police spending their time on the beat and being visible to the public.

“I do not see this being a major threat to policing in the area as the station is rarely staffed and isn’t opened to the public in any event. This facility would be open to the public and have interview facilities.

“The premises would also be returned to the council and turned into housing for local residents.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Bainsford Police Station is not a main operational base and is not owned by police. It is used as a community base for local community officers and has no public access. It is minutes from the main station in Falkirk, from which officers already start their shifts before basing themselves in the community.

“We are currently consulting with communities and partners to explore ways in which officers can be as accessible as possible for local people, and there will be no change to the police resources deployed in Bainsford or the level of local service provided.”