SNP centralisation and the closure of police and fire control rooms in Aberdeen and Inverness has caused havoc to the services in the North and North East, leading to a series of serious and potentially life threatening blunders.
Concerned by the worrying trend of mistakes being made, North East MSP Mike Rumbles has tabled a series of parliamentary questions calling for an assessment to be made of the performance of the new control rooms.
Gaffes so far include sending police to Glasgow instead of Aberdeen and deploying firefighters from distant locations despite nearby stations on hand in Dingwall and Inverness, including directing one fire engine from Lairg over 100 miles to an incident on Skye, taking over two hours to make the trip.
Operators have also mistaken the town of Thurso with a similarly named road in Dundee and only a few days ago it took several minutes for the police control centre to find an Aberdeen address on ‘google maps’, despite the caller having the correct post code to hand.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats were the only party to stand against the amalgamation of Police Scotland in 2011 and have opposed the closures of regional centres in the North East and Highlands.
Liberal Democrat candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, John Waddell, said: “This is not the fault of the staff in Dundee, they have been given an impossible task.
“Dedicated and experienced operators and state of the art facilities in Aberdeen and Inverness have been shut down and replaced with centres in Dundee that are now responsible for directing police and fire for the majority of the land area of Scotland.
“We have already heard that calls from Shetlanders for their own control room on the island have been rejected. It is time that the Scottish Government admits that this situation is not working and looks again at how they deliver this service at a local level.”
North East MSP Mike Rumbles added: “We told the SNP that their politically motivated centralisation of police and fire would damage those services in the North East and North of Scotland, but they did not listen.
“Every time the SNP attempt another power grab, mistakes are made and our communities suffer. You would think they would learn from their previous blunders but they are too inept to do even that.
“We need to see an honest evaluation of the effect of centralisation on Police Scotland and the Fire Service and then the Scottish Government must call an end to the one-size-fits-all agenda. The end result should be to find a way to give powers back to our communities in the North East.”
Notes for editors:
• Written questions submitted by Mike Rumbles MSP on 18th May 2017:
1. To ask the Scottish Government if it intends to carry out a comparative assessment of the operational performance of the Police and Fire control centres in Dundee, relative to the previous performance of the local centres in Aberdeen and Inverness.
2. To ask the Scottish Government what action it is prepared to take if the operational performance of the Police and Fire control centres in Dundee is found to be poor in comparison to the recently closed centres in Aberdeen and Inverness.