BARRHEAD residents have been urged to take their fears over the proposed closure of the town’s police station all the way to Holyrood.

West of Scotland MSP Maurice Golden called on the town to make its feelings clear to Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

The politician believes the proposed closure would lead to longer response times and residents feeling more vulnerable.

Barrhead is one of 58 towns across Scotland facing losing its dedicated police station as part of a review of Police Scotland’s estate that is aimed at saving up to £18 million a year.

The force named the Bank Street building as one which does not match “policing requirements”.

Mr Golden said: “I understand there are financial considerations to take into account, and that it isn’t always possible to maintain every police station.

“However, the residents of Barrhead deserve better than to be used as a means to save money.

“This SNP government doesn’t have a great record on policing, and losing the local police station will only damage the trust people have in policing.

“With public confidence in Police Scotland at an all-time low, this isn’t the right time to be taking police out of our communities.

“The situation in Barrhead is made all the more challenging given the fact that another nearby police station, in Giffnock, also faces potential closure.

“The closure of either of these stations would be bad enough, but both together would send out entirely the wrong message from the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to residents in East Renfrewshire.

“Protecting our communities isn’t a party political issue and I would urge residents to write to the Justice Secretary to let him know they want to keep their police station.”

However, the force has responded to Mr Golden’s concerns, insisting a front counter service will be maintained in Barrhead.

East Renfrewshire’s Chief Inspector Angela Carty said: “As part of Police Scotland’s current assessment of its estate, a number of properties are being considered in the Greater Glasgow and East Renfrewshire area to ensure they are suitable for modern, operational policing and are fit for purpose.

“Barrhead Police Station is one of these buildings that will be looked at as part of the estate strategy and a range of alternative approaches will be considered to meet the different needs of the local community.

“Police Scotland is committed to retaining a front-counter presence in Barrhead and there will be no change to the number of officers based there or their presence within the community.

“We will consider a number of options including the potential to re-locate or co-locate with partners but this takes time and we are keen to engage with partners and the local community on this.

“Any decision will be based on improving local service delivery whilst enhancing accessibility to police officers within the local community.

“The communities that we serve are at the very heart of local policing and there will be no change to the way that we deliver our service to local people.”