“We have been looking at where we need to deploy resources and part of that is the front counter hours of local police offices.
“This doesn’t mean the police are withdrawing from Rutherglen.
“At the moment we have community police officers and their job is to patrol key areas in the community and that’s not going to change.
“If anything what this will do is free up police officers so they can spend more time out there.
“At the moment the officers who work in the bar (reception) include a police officer and the bar officer, if they’re off sick, off on leave or on a course, we’ve got to cover that and that means using police who would be on the street.
“There is research going on in terms of foot fall, and, without having actual figures, the early indications are that people attending the office at night are very minimal.”
Community council chair Tommy Rooney said: “What concerns me is when you phone up you get put through to a contact centre in Motherwell who then relays it back to Rutherglen or Cambuslang, but what if there’s a disturbance outside someone’s house?
“They won’t be happy just sitting there waiting but with the front counter of the local police station open all night they had an avenue they could seek help from right away.”
Inspector Gillespie replied: “It is true that when you call us you get put through to a contact centre, but this is actually a far more effective way of dealing with calls.
“It depends on the nature of the incident how quickly we’ll get officers out.
“Obviously if someone phones up and says ‘someone’s breaking in to my house’ we’ll get someone there right away, but if another person phones up and says ‘I want advice on a neighbour dispute’ we would get back to them in due course.”
Hamish McBride added: “There is a certain amount of personal contact being lost with not being able to go to your local office and speak to someone.
“It used to be that you would get to know your local community officers, but know it seems they are changed round so often it’s never the same officers you see out.”
Inspector Gillespie said: “In the old days we would have about a dozen local police officers in all four of the ward areas. The advantage to that was people got to know them.
“Now they are different groups and it can be difficult to establish a relationship.
“What we’ve gained from that is we’ve got community officers out there from 7am to 4am which we’ve never had before and, at the moment, we’ve got about 10 sergeants and 70 police officers in five groups.”