Councillors in East Lothian have hit out at the lack of consultation over recent decisions made by Police Scotland.
They have highlighted recent experience involving changes to public counter opening times at police stations and ending the traffic warden service.
The council’s response to the ‘Call for evidence on Police Reform’ requested by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee on Policing suggests that Police Scotland’s engagement in partnership working was not yet all that the council might desire.
The lack of sharing information about how the proposals were arrived at and that the changes were proposed without reference to the Local Policing Plan have caused the council and local communities concern, the council stated this week.
Council leader Willie Innes said: “The Council believe proposals contained within Police Scotland’s two reviews of local services would have a significant adverse impact on our communities. East Lothian has already suffered a blow to localised services with the forthcoming closure of Haddington Sheriff Court and we contend that the proposals to remove traffic warden services from our major town centres and closure of police public counters will cause considerable difficulties to businesses, residents and visitors with possible negative impacts on our local economy.
“Of particular concern was the lack of consultation and that changes have been proposed without reference to the Local Policing Plan. The council recognises the financial background to police reform but feel it is imperative that any changes to priorities and procedures should be considered as part of the development of the Local Policing Plan so that relevant parties can be consulted and the impact of communities taken into account.”
The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Sub-Committee had set an original deadline for responses on the Impact of Police Reform on Local Policing of November 29 but this has now been extended to Janury 10 which has allowed the council the opportunity to consider and discuss more fully the draft response.
* There has been a rethink on closure of the public counter at Tranent Police Station following a local campaign to keep it open.