The shock axing of three chief inspector posts across the Kingdom will not damage frontline police services, Fife’s top police officer vows.
Addressing Fife Council’s police transition committee, Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan said the reduction of seven posts to four created “a sense of change but not a sense of loss.”
Indeed, least of all for Levenmouth, with news that CI Graeme Kinmond will stay for the time being.
If, however, he decides to retire in nine months’ time, the area will merge with north east Fife.
Committee members expressed disappointment at the decision, which comes just months after Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House assured the seven posts were a “keystone” for Fife.
Furthermore, members were disturbed that the new national force’s decision to redistribute Fife’s ranks had been made without local consultation.
“I had a lot of one-to-one discussions with the chief inspectors to understand their views and, hand on heart, they said their areas of command were too small. The change will give them access to more resources,” assured Chief Supt McEwan.
“One had supervision of just 37 police officers compared to other chief inspectors across Scotland, who have in excess of 200 officers.”
Cllr Helen Law responded: “I find it staggering that we are having these changes so quickly and I’m really concerned for the troops on the ground.”
MSP Claire Baker slammed the decision, saying Fife had suffered to meet a £190 million budget deficit.
“In recent years, we’ve seen great work taking place across Fife to build public confidence in local policing and it’s vital that this confidence is not now undermined,” she said.
“What we are seeing is an erosion of local justice throughout the Kingdom.”