Police in U-turn on Argyll and Bute merger plan

Police Scotland has put on hold plans to merge its L and K divisions into a single unit covering all of Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire.
Police Scotland has put on hold plans to merge its L and K divisions into a single unit covering all of Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire.

Police Scotland has put on hold plans to merge the division covering Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire with that in Inverclyde and Renfrewshire - at least for the next 12 months.

The proposal attracted widespread opposition last year from communities in rural areas who feared that issues specific to them would be swamped by urban priorities.

Concern was also expressed that the merger would lead to the closure of L Division’s headquarters in Dumbarton, with the much larger administrative area being overseen from Paisley.

L Division, which covers all of Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire as far west as Coll and Tiree, and K Division, covering Inverclyde and Renfrewshire as far east as the Glasgow city boundary, will now be retained until October 2016 at the earliest.

Chief Superintendent Grant Manders said, “I must thank those all those who provided the useful feedback from the consultation.

“Whilst the feedback received was broadly supportive of the changes proposed, during the consultation process a small number of specific local issues have been identified which continue to cause concern to some stakeholders.

“To allow further consideration to those specific local issues, the current structure will remain.”

Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP for Dumbarton, said: “When the merger plans were first announced, it was presented to our local community as a ‘done deal’.

“Senior officers were engaged with the thankless task of convincing local people that a move to Paisley would be best.

“I made my opposition to the plans very clear when I met with both Sir Stephen House and representatives from the Scottish Police Authority earlier in the summer and I am glad that they have listened to the very real concerns of local people.”