Tayside Police

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Justice and Law Officers – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 1st March 2007.

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Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative 2:15 pm, 1st March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive when it last met the chief constable of Tayside police and what issues were discussed. (S2O-12178)

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

Scottish Executive ministers and officials meet all chief constables regularly to discuss a wide range of policing issues.

Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

When the minister next meets the chief constable of Tayside police, she might like to ask him why only two out of 32 police stations in Tayside are open to the public 24 hours a day. Does she accept that in some of our smaller communities having a police station open 24 hours a day not only acts as a deterrent to crime, but provides reassurance to a public who are increasingly concerned about rising levels of crime and offences?

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

I appreciate that the public are concerned about having police available to deal with incidents, to prevent and detect crime and to bring offenders to justice, but I suspect that in any discussions that I had with the chief constable of Tayside police, he would express the view that rather than having his officers in police offices away from, and inaccessible to, the public, he would prefer them to be out on patrol and able to respond to incidents, particularly during the night-time hours. As a result of all the investment that we have made in improving technology—through the airwave radio system, for example—methods of policing have changed, as has the way in which people contact the police. Although I cannot speak for the chief constable, I am sure that that would be the flavour of some of what he would say.

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

When the minister next meets the chief constable of Tayside police, will she discuss with him his innovative approach to the co-location of police officers in public offices of other agencies, which is extremely welcome in some isolated areas of my constituency? It guarantees a level of police presence in rural communities and improves people's confidence in the police force. If that service is working in one area, would the minister contemplate encouraging the chief constable of Tayside police and other chief constables to roll it out into other rural areas where it would be appreciated?

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

A number of innovative projects are working in the Tayside area and in other areas. As we move ahead with changes to public services in response to what the public wants, it is important to look for instances where we can co-locate people, so that we do not have additional costs to the taxpayer at the local and national level. In addition to the project mentioned by Mr Swinney, I am aware of—and, indeed, have visited, along with Scott Barrie MSP—innovative projects in the Fife area in which the local post office is a contact point for the police, allowing the public to pass on information at a very local level.