Let MSPs rule on police station cuts

Bellshill police office
Bellshill police office
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Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland wants Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to step into the row on police station closures.

Plans to shut the public counters in many police stations and cut opening hours at others have been slammed by Labour and Conservative politicians.

If Police Scotland proposals are approved, the public counter at Bellshill won’t be open beyond 6pm while Wishaw will close at midnight.

On top of that, Viewpark and Uddingston police stations would no longer operate a public counter.

Mr Pentland, who’s on the Scottish Parliament justice committee, has written to Mr MacAskill to say the parliament, not Police Scotland, should make these decisions.

The MSP stated: “Such widespread changes have a direct bearing on how we want Scotland to be policed, just as much as police officer numbers and the consequences of budget cuts for civilian staffing.

“Both of these saw the proactive involvement of the Scottish Government in policing.

“Do you support the closure and downgrading of police stations? Will you intervene to ensure that this matter is not rushed through without adequate consultation and debate by parliament?”

Mr Pentland added: “The Cabinet Secretary wants to take the credit for police numbers, while passing the buck for the consequences, leaving unelected executives to make the difficult decisions and carry the can.

“This should be a government decision, scrutinised by parliament. All MSPs should be calling for that – not just the opposition, but also government backbenchers who have so far remained silent.”