That’s why I’ve launched a petition to save Alexandria and Dumbarton police stations from massive service cuts which would make it harder for local people to report a crime or get help in an emergency.

Under the recently announced plans, Dumbarton police station would close its doors to the public for 16 hours a day and all weekend while the front desk at Alexandria station would shut completely.

What’s more, these cuts won’t even put a single police officer back on the streets, with Police Scotland reducing the number of support staff to meet the £60 million cuts demanded by the SNP Government.

I am particularly worried that the permanent closure of Alexandria Police Station to the public would be a hammer blow for local policing in the Vale.

People rely on our local stations not only in emergencies but also when reporting crime and making enquiries. They provide a significant measure of public assurance.

Talking to someone in a call centre or sending messages through Facebook just isn’t a good enough substitute.

Residents expect the police to offer a face-to-face service in the heart of our communities so that’s why I am opposing any moves to cut current opening hours.

Although I have heard the suggestion of relocating the police to the council’s one-stop shop, I am worried that there is still no guarantee that this would offer the same 8am to 7pm public counter service we currently have in Alexandria. And the one-stop shop is still some way off in the future.

Dumbarton too risks losing out on its 24/7 police station, with the proposal for the front desk only to be open 9-5 Monday to Friday.

With its several bars, night club and a 24-hour supermarket, Dumbarton town centre is as busy at evenings and weekends than it ever has been in the past.

People need the peace of mind which comes from knowing that no matter what time of day it is, if you find yourself in danger you can seek refuge at a local station.

If these cuts go ahead as planned then the nearest available station for most of the day and all weekend would be over seven miles away in Clydebank.

What use is a police station if the public are kept locked outside when they need it most?

These cuts add to an ever-growing list in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven. First it was 3,000 fewer students at Clydebank College and now it’s the police.

The SNP’s centralisation agenda is taking public services out of reach of local people.

If you agree that our police stations should remain open to the public then please sign my ‘Save our Stations’ petition on the campaigns section of my website at If you would like paper copies of the petition then please visit my office at 11 Castle Street, Dumbarton or call 01389 734214.