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Shocking conditions discovered at Argyll and Bute police stations

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Calls have been made to close two police stations and officer accommodation in the Argyll and Bute area due to “disgraceful conditions”.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) carried out inspections of sites across the region earlier this month.

Officials found that staff at Oban Police Station had covered numerous holes on damp walls with sheets of paper to try to improve its appearance, and that paintwork in the food preparation area was covered in mould.

Officer accommodation rented out by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) was also inspected and found to be in a poor condition similar to that supplied by “slum landlords”.

Inspectors even found mushrooms growing on towels in the shower room and on various fabrics which had been used to try to mop up water leaking from several radiators.

Mushrooms in Dunoon

Michael Russell SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute said: “This report is very worrying. It is shocking that Oban Police Station has been allowed to deteriorate in this way and I would expect an urgent response from Police Scotland at the most senior level.

“There needs to be a clear, urgent, plan for something new and clear urgent action to make it happen.”

Similar concerns about the state of officer accommodation was also raised in Campbeltown where officers claimed they had been advised to declare themselves homeless in order to be considered a priority case on the council housing list.

Meanwhile, the police station at Lochgilphead was found to have a rat infestation which has continued despite the issue being raised by the SPF in 2017.

And firefighting equipment within the male accommodation, known locally as ‘the barracks’ in Dunoon, was identified as being out of date in the report.

 

The SPF is now calling for the SPA to immediately close Oban and Lochgilphead police station, and shut the accommodation in Dunoon, Campbeltown and Lochgilphead, and to find officers suitable housing in the meantime.

Scottish Labour justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “This report is absolutely damning.

“It confirms what officers have been saying for a number of years about the disgraceful conditions they are having to work in.

“The justice secretary must, as a matter of urgency, investigate these findings and ensure our hard working police officers are given the resources they need.”

Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor said: “A small number of officers affected by property issues raised in Dunoon have already been moved to temporary accommodation while improvement works are carried out.

“A range of options for Oban Police Station are being examined following HMICS recommendations last year.

“We are prioritising the capital budget we have been allocated across a multitude of competing demands to achieve as much as we can, as quickly as we can.”

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