South Scotland

Single Scots police force impact examined

generic police scotland officers
Image caption Members of the Scottish Parliament's justice sub-committee visited Dumfries to discuss policing

The first in a series of fact-finding visits to assess the impact of a single national police force has taken place in Dumfries and Galloway.

Plans to shut some front offices were discussed by members of the Scottish Parliament's justice sub-committee.

They wanted to find out how policing has been affected by the introduction of a single force on 1 April last year.

The sub-committee also wanted to know whether services have been designed to meet specific needs in local areas.

Convener Christine Grahame said: "There has been much comment that local policing is under attack, with proposed closures of police counters and an apparent rise in stop and searches.

"We want to hear first-hand from the police on the front line and in the back rooms if local policing is better or worse or if there has been no change since Police Scotland was created.

"Communities in local towns and villages around Scotland will also have their views, and that is why we'll also be speaking to community councils and Victim Support to hear their own experiences of the new arrangements."

Ms Grahame said the views gathered would help to inform future work on local policing.

As part of the Scotland-wide series of visits, two MSPs on the sub-committee, Margaret Mitchell and Graeme Pearson, the former head of the Scottish Drugs Agency, toured the divisional police HQ at Cornwall Mount in Dumfries.

Next week, the fact-finding mission moves on to Elgin and Glenrothes.

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