‘Half-hearted’ consultation, says MSP

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LOCAL MSPs have hit out at the proposed closure of police counters in the past week, with former Yarrow farmer Jim Hume slamming the consultation process as “half-hearted”.

In a letter to Police Scotland’s Chief Constable, Stephen House, Mr Hume said the communities affected, including Selkirk, should have been “properly consulted” on the plans.

He added: “Simply providing an email address through which people can get in touch seems half-hearted at best. That is not good enough.”

Mr Hume said the issue of internet access for many rural residents also meant that the lack of an actual consultation document had left many “isolated from the process entirely”.

The formal consultation period on the proposals closed last week.

In the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, another Borders MSP, John Lamont, said Police Scotland’s plans to shut counters would have a “detrimental effect on the link between communities and their local police service”.

He added: “While I appreciate that Police Scotland is attempting to save money, this is not the right way to go about it.

“This is a retrograde step that will do nothing to improve the public’s confidence in the safety on our streets, and I know that many Borderers will be very concerned.”

At last month’s meeting of Selkirk Community Council, chairman Gareth Easton called for Police Scotland to provide a firm assurance to the community council and the public that police coverage will be maintained in Selkirk.

The community council has also raised concerns about the impact of the review of traffic wardens, and the effect it could also have in the town.