Community councillors in Crieff have agreed to challenge the proposed relocation of the town’s police station from King Street to Strathearn Community Campus.
This week chairman Stephen Leckie sent a letter to Tayside Police on behalf of the community council highlighting local residents’ concerns over the controversial plans.
Mr Leckie told the Herald: “We think the police do a great job in Crieff and that is why we are passionate about keeping their identity in the town centre.”
Members of the community council unanimously agreed to send the letter to the local constabulary and are keen to work with Crieff Community Trust on the issue in order to present a united front.
The letter states: “There is a strong feeling in Crieff that public services should be located in the town centre, where they are more accessible to a wider range of people in the community, and not at the campus which is on the outskirts of town.
“It is believed that moving the police station to the campus would have a detrimental impact on the combined efforts of local community groups, including the community council, to support the regeneration of the town centre. It would be preferable to see public service providers, including the police, supporting these efforts rather than undermine them.”
Community councillors suggest more serious consideration be given to ‘co-locating’ with the social work and housing departments in Perth and Kinross Council’s James Square office, or elsewhere in the town centre.
The letter draws attention to the existing parking problem at the campus, and also questions ‘co-locating’ the police station with Crieff High School.
It continues: “The phrase ‘campus cops’ was used at the meeting on November 22 and we were told that this model has proved very successful in the west of Scotland. Is this really an appropriate model for Crieff?
“While we appreciate that the presence of the police could possibly have a positive influence on school pupils, we also believe that a police station at the campus is likely to attract individuals with criminal histories or other behavioural and social problems who should not be spending time around a school.”
It concludes: “We are aware that the Tayside Joint Police Board has now applied for, and been granted, a building warrant by Perth and Kinross Council for the purpose of carrying out ‘alterations to form offices and welfare facilities’. We wonder why this description has been used, rather than the more transparent, and surely more accurate, description of ‘alterations to form a police station’?
“We were also disappointed to learn that this application was submitted two days prior to the public meeting which took place on 22nd November during which Chief Superintendent Hamish MacPherson stood up before the people of Crieff and said, ‘This is not a done deal’.”