South Scotland MSP Martin Whitfield has welcomed the amendment of a proposal for the reclassification of Dalkeith Police Station’s custody suite which would have effectively meant it would only be used during major events or as a back-up for other centres.
The original plan to reclassify Dalkeith from a ‘primary’ to ‘ancillary’ centre, has now been amended so that it will operate as an ancillary dayshift centre. This means it will be staffed by Criminal Justice Services Division (CJSD) staff during dayshift periods and at other times will be available for activation when required and principally staffed by custody trained Local Policing officers, with remote custody supervision.
The change follows concerns raised by Mr Whitfield and fellow South Scotland MSPs, Carol Mochan and Colin Smyth, regarding aspects of the original proposal, including increased journey times for officers and the impact this could have on policing in communities, especially in more rural parts of East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.
Commenting on the amended proposal, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“When the proposal to reclassify Dalkeith’s custody centre from a primary to ancillary centre was first announced, I was not convinced that it was the right decision for local communities, police officers or detainees.
“There was an acceptance that some level of change was required due to the reduction in the number of people being taken into custody, but there were real fears about how the proposal would impact on communities, particularly in Mid and East Lothian and the Borders.
“We highlighted our concerns about the proposal and asked for the reclassification to be looked at again. I’m grateful to Police Scotland for listening to the concerns and revisiting their proposed changes for Dalkeith.
“I believe the revised plan is a sensible compromise which means that Dalkeith’s custody suite will continue to be staffed at periods of peak demand, while also remaining available for activation at other times as required.”