Crime panel wants top-level talks

Levenmouth Police Station, Sea Road, Methil
Levenmouth Police Station, Sea Road, Methil

ANTI-crime campaigners in Levenmouth are seeking urgent talks with Fife’s top police officer.

Proposed changes to the community policing structure across Fife have prompted Levenmouth Community Safety Panel to seek a meeting this month with Police Scotland’s divisional commander for the Kingdom, Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan.

The planned shake-up could see community safety police officers in Fife’s seven policing areas join colleagues in two new teams, dedicated to criminal prevention and enforcement.

The move, however, means Levenmouth will next week be losing its new community safety officer, PC Kevin Taylor, amid uncertainty over a replacement and what their role may be.

Panel members last week expressed dismay over that uncertainty, with displeasure at the lack of consultation.

They feared continuity over local policing issues could be damaged and important local knowledge could fall by the wayside, along with the traditionally strong link between the panel and its community safety officer.

It was agreed to invite Ch Supt McEwan to a special meeting on August 22 for a face-to-face consultation.

And chairman Andrew Keddie declared: “I want a decision maker - not a story carrier.”

PC Taylor indicated he would not be ‘walking away’ from the panel, but he would not be based at Methil’s Sea Road station and anyone who replaced him might be responsible for more than one panel.

It was possible he may be succeeded by another community police officer from Levenmouth, who would have some local knowledge - but their duties may be spread rather thinly.

Deriding the lack of communication over the issue, Councillor Charles Haffey said: “This is a serious omission by the Scottish Government. It has not considered community issues.”

Cllr John O’Brien added: “We need to have a community constable to deal with local issues.

“How can we get messages across if they don’t know the area?”

PC Taylor told members: “Continuity is what this role needs. Hopefully, you will get it.”

He added: “This panel is unique and, in my opinion, it’s the best in the whole of Fife.”