Councillor John Syme, Vice Chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Police, Fire and Rescue sub-committee, has labelled a meeting with the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, Vic Emery, and the Chair of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Pat Watters, “a sham”.
The meeting, which took place last week, to discuss local council’s concerns over the lack of meaningful engagement by the two new centralised Police and Fire Services was organised by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) after Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader Ronnie Nicholson raised at a meeting of COSLA leaders the fact that there had been no consultation with councils over planned control room closures. Convenors of all local Councils, Police and Fire Committees were invited to attend.
The lack of consultation also recently resulted in Dumfries and Galloway Council refusing to agree Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service local plan’s for Dumfries and Galloway at a recent meeting of the full council (27 March).
Commenting on the meeting, Councillor Syme said:
“The meeting was a sham from start to finish. We were supposed to scrutinise the performance of Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Services and to discuss our concerns over the lack of meaningful engagement with local councils. Instead we were subjected to a public relation exercise where member of both the Police and Fire Service boards told us what a brilliant job they were doing. Try telling that to the dozens of people worrying about whether they will have a job in a few weeks time because of the closure of the control rooms.
“When I questioned the chair of the SPA board, Vic Emery, on the closure of Dumfries Police Control Room, he stated the board did not have to tell people what they were doing. This was an absolutely shocking claim.”
"It is becoming abundantly clear that the SPA is just not holding the Police to account and making sure that the new Police Scotland serves the whole country not just the central belt and the north. They simply have no interest in making sure jobs are evenly spread across Scotland. This was a waste of time and highlighted the fact that the Scottish Police Authority Board has no interest in serving the people of the South of Scotland."