As part of cost-cutting measures, Strathclyde Police were proposing to relocate the police sergeant on Mull to Oban, on the mainland, working part time on the island from then on,
This would have left Mull with three constables and one part-time sergeant and, while the island is a peaceful one, wildlife crime is an ever-present possibility (and has taken place) with the island host to golden and sea eagles.
Residents are not happy with the prospect of living with one eye over their shoulder to compensate for a reduced police service.
Representations were made to current political representatives – specifically to Michael Russell, Argyll and Bute’s MSP and to ward councillors Roddy McCuish and Mary Jean Devon, a Mull resident and a redoubtable force for Mull even where, in her school closure voting performance, she may have been notably less concerned with the fate of other communities in Argyll.
Their concerted intervention has now brought about an apparent change in the thinking of the police, with the following email just received from Bernard Higgins , Assistant Chief Constable for Territorial Policing at Strathclyde Police :
‘I refer to your e-mail of 22 April 2012 to the Chief Constable in respect of the policing arrangements on Mull. As Assistant Chief Constable for Territorial Policing I have overall responsibility for how policing services are delivered across the Force area. As such Mr House has asked me to personally address your concerns and respond to you on his behalf.
‘It is our aim to ensure that every community in the Strathclyde area has a policing service which meets local needs and is structured around local community policing teams delivering for the community in the heart of the community. I have spoken today with Chief Superintendent Russell Dunn, Divisional Commander for Argyll, Bute and West Dunbartonshire and he has agreed that at this time there will be no changes to the resourcing of Mull. For operational reasons it may be necessary for the sergeant, on occasion, to cover other areas as well as Mull, but the number of police constables will remain the same.
‘I trust this addresses your immediate concerns but I am sure Mr Dunn or the Area Commander, Chief Inspector Brian Auld (based at Oban) will happily discuss this or any other policing matter further.’
We are not entirely sure that this is not a rather sophist communication.
It does not say that the sergeant will remain resident on the island – just that the resourcing will remain the same; and it makes great play of the continuation of the number of the constables on the island, which was not in doubt.
We also understand that the matter is not resolved and that the situation with policing on Mull is to be reviewed.