Police chief unveils plan to close station at night

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PLANS to close Milngavie Police Station at night have been broadly welcomed following discussions with local community groups and councillors.

Although there is no time scale to close the station between 8pm and 7am, Chief Inspector Brian McInulty said he would prefer it to happen ‘sooner rather than later’.

A telephone will be put outside the station for people to contact a central command.

Officers will still use the station for shift changes and be available for emergency callouts throughout the night.

At a meeting of the Crime Prevention Panel last week, the chief inspector, along with other senior officers explained that it was a better use of resources and the amount of people coming in at night did not justify keeping it open to the public.

At present the front desk is staffed by civilians.

Chief Inspector McInulty said that when a civillian member of staff was off, a police officer had to take their place.

He said: “This is about improving the quality of service we provide to the local community in Milngavie and Bearsden. “Studies have shown, and my staff confirm, that there is no demand for the police office to remain open throughout the night.

“Nowadays incidents are most often reported by phone. Where someone does attend at the police office in person requiring assistance during the night, they will get a quicker police response through an external phone that will link them directly to our control room, allowing a police officer to be deployed immediately.”

He continued: “The current arrangement at Milngavie is that when a member of the public attends the police office in person, they have to buzz for assistance, wait on a member of staff coming to see them, tell the member of staff what they are reporting, and wait while the member of staff contacts the police control room to request a police officer’s attendance.

“Local police officers are regularly used to staff the police office on occasions when the station sssistants are off.

“The real benefit for the people of Milngavie and Bearsden is that reducing the opening hours will allow those officers to be out on patrol. “

Doris Sophia, chairperson for Bearsden and Milngavie Crime Prevention Panel, said she had initial concerns about the proposals, but following her meeting with the chief inspector, had been reassured “it was a good idea.”

She added: “The amount of people who use the station between these hours is negligible.

“We have also been told there will continue to be a police presence at the station.”

Milngavie Councillor Jim Gibbons said: “I am fully supportive of this more efficient way of working.”

Councillor Gibbons added: “I have already met with the police and have been assured that there is no threat to the police station. It is a vital base for operations in the area and this will continue. “