Bolt from the blue

Uddingston Police Office
Uddingston Police Office

Uddingston Police Office is likely to close by the end of the year under a major re-structuring programme, it was claimed this week.

The part-time office would be one of the first casualties following the decision to merge Scotland’s eight police services into one authority.

Strathclyde Police insisted no decisions regarding individual offices have been taken, but Uddingston and Bothwell councillor Maureen Devlin said it’s common knowledge among police officers that bosses want to close Uddingston and neighbouring Blantyre to the public.

And she criticised the police for drawing up the plans before consulting councillors.

The Uddingston office is open to the public between 9am and 4pm, but Councillor Devlin said officers have let it be known during informal meetings that this will cease in December.

She said: “This came as a bolt from the blue and it’s something I and colleagues intend to fight.

“People get a sense of security from having a police station in their community. For some people it can be a safe haven.

“These days if you phone the police on a non-urgent matter, you go through central control and leave a message, and it can be some days before anyone gets back to you.

“It’s good that you can walk into the police station and speak to someone.

“I don’t accept the argument that it’s all about getting police officers on the street. A base in the community is very important.”

Councillor Devlin said that after raising concerns she and colleagues received an e-mail from police area commander David Walker, outlining proposed changes.

He confirmed plans to close Uddingston and Blantyre to the public. She and Labour colleagues intend to meet Mr Walker to discuss the issue.

Councillor Devlin added: “There’s been no consultation so far and I wonder if it was a deliberate ploy to draw up these plans in recent months when councillors perhaps had their eye off the ball because of the election.”

Strathclyde Police confirmed all stations were under review, but insisted nothing has been decided.

Assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins said: “We are a large organisatin providing a hugely important service to the public.

“It’s important when the public need us we are there and we make sure our resources are in the right place all of the time.

“Over the past few months we have been looking at all of our stations to try to understand how and when they are being used.

“We are now consulting on the results of our findings.

“No matter what changes are agreed, we’ll always make sure the public can speak to the police in a variety of ways, be it face to face, by phone or, as we have started recently, through social media.”