Bute policing set for another merger?

Police Scotland is to consult on proposals to merge its L and K divisions. The former covers Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire and the latter Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.
Police Scotland is to consult on proposals to merge its L and K divisions. The former covers Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire and the latter Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

Police services on Bute could be merged with those in Inverclyde under new plans unveiled by the country’s policing authority.

Police Scotland announced on Thursday that it was to consult on proposals to merge L Division, which covers Argyll and West Dunbartonshire, with K Division, which is responsible for the Renfrewshire and Inverclyde area.

Assistant chief constable Wayne Mawson, who is responsible for the delivery of local policing in the West of Scotland, said: “Local commanders have identified opportunities to further strengthen local policing, increase consistency in the provision of our service to communities and ensure we continue to look for financial savings where we can marry this with service improvements.

“Early engagement will now begin on this proposal and it is essential that we consult with staff and engage with our external partners to test locally that the benefits proposed are both supported and understood that we listen to all feedback.

The plan has been criticised by independent Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie, who said: “Despite saying all the right things about community policing, Police Scotland’s actions, including this proposal, tell a different story. The national service suffers from an instinct to centralisation that frustrates the public’s wish for responsive, local policing.

“The folk of Argyll and Bute want ‘bobbies on the beat’ that they can trust. They don’t want the policing of their communities treated like some remote table-top management exercise.”

Prior to the creation of Strathclyde Police in 1975 under reorganisation of Scotland’s local government boundaries, police on Bute were part of the old Renfrew and Bute Constabulary - itself an amalgamation in 1946 of the separate police services for the two areas.