PEOPLE arrested on a Scottish island on weekends may have to be taken to Glasgow or North Ayrshire if a police station closes.

That was the warning from one of Argyll and Bute’s police chiefs after a councillor expressed fears over the consequences of any closure at Greenock Police Station.

Proposals to shut the facility were revealed last month, and are currently the subject of a public consultation by Police Scotland.

Both Bute, an island in the west of Scotland, and Cowal, the adjacent peninsula, are currently served by the station in Greenock at weekends as it has cell facilities.

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Cowal LibDem councillor William Sinclair called for further dialogue on the subject, saying he could see “so many problems” with the idea, which would lead prisoners having to be transferred to Clydebank or Saltcoats on weekends.

The discussion took place at a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Bute and Cowal Community Planning Group on Tuesday, February 6.

Sinclair said: “I have a real concern on the closure of Greenock Police Station. I think we really need to have some time aside to discuss this.

“I had quite a long conversation with the chair of the Police Federation. They have made me aware of a whole heap of things that will affect Bute and Cowal.

The National:

“The police station in Dunoon had custody facilities, but does not now, and if they are to arrest somebody in Cowal or Bute, the person would need to be taken to Greenock.

“If the custody facilities in Greenock shut, then it would be two officers who need to take the prisoner somewhere else, and that could leave our area lacking in police for hours.”

Inspector Bart Simonis responded: “We do have custody facilities at Cowal and have a custody suite set up in Dunoon with officers who are trained in the facilities.

“But there are issues when we have prisoners in over the weekend, as they need to be conveyed to the nearest police station with cells.

“We do share your concerns on the closure of Greenock Police Office. There is a consultation process open just now, but this has been led at executive level by Police Scotland. It is ongoing and we have raised our concerns.

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“Should it be deemed necessary to keep somebody in over the weekend, we would need to look at the next police station available to us. It would either be Clydebank or Saltcoats, which would need our officers off the street for longer than going to Greenock.”

Sinclair then said: “Within Cowal we have a significant coastline, and to patrol that and keep the area safe is a substantial task.

“If two police officers take prisoners somewhere else, that leaves the facility for people who know what they are doing to come into the coastline.

“I think we, as a planning partnership, should spend time on this in another meeting, because I can see so many problems.”