Now finally the imposed reorganisation of Midlothian’s dedicated community police officers in February 2014 has filtered down from rumours and press comments, it is obvious the changes of Community Constables has been badly handled. A decision without consultation or any advance notification has been made by Midlothian Police that only one community officer per council ward was the direction to take.
With the vast geographical and varied wards of Midlothian South, Midlothian East and Dalkeith, does one size fit all? It will depend on priorities again.
There has been no explanation for this reduction of this dedicated and effective community service.
It has to be presumed it’s another cost saving and must be in line with the single Police Scotland policies in other areas? The changes have not been welcomed in the areas affected as they know the benefits of continuity of having their officer in their areas where it is important in building up the relevant links. These officers are effective in education, community safety, and on into improving detection rates as they know their beats. The police should have been able to consult on this issue in advance, with Midlothian Council its Community Safety Forum and appropriate community Organisations. The community questions on these changes, may have been: What are the community officer priorities, new shift patterns, and what are the resources for these officers, what station bases will they use and do they have sufficient transport? I am sure these are all questions that the previous local Police Boards would have considered. The current SNP administration (Police and Fire) Community Safety Group in Midlothian Council has never even debated this issue which goes to say it is only a talking shop with no clout or even considered as a relevant “stakeholder”.
Councillor Bryan Pottinger
Tenth Street, Newtongrange
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