Local Labour politicians have slammed the Scottish Police Authority Board after they agreed to the closure of Dumfries Police control room.
The decision was made at today’s (Thursday 30 January 2014) meeting of the Scottish Police Authority Board with control set to close in April.
Commenting on the decision, Elaine Murray MSP, Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs and Community Safety, said:
“By rubbing stamping these proposals, the Scottish Police Board has failed the people of Dumfries and Galloway. Anyone watching the debate will have seen that it was stitched up from start to finish and this was a fait accompli. The Scottish Police Board was only interested in the mechanics of the implementation of the cuts not looking at whether there are any viable alternatives. For them to ask for reports about the impact of the cuts after they have been made, is an insult to the people who will lose their jobs and simply too little too late. They paid lip service to the fact that there is little alternative employment in areas such as Dumfries and Galloway and relocation is just not an option for many people and they failed to recognise that Police Scotland are concentrating all civilian jobs in cities at the expense of rural areas. “
“The SPA ignored the fact there was no consultation on these proposals by Police Scotland with staff, local officers on the ground and partners such as local council’s and to now say there will be consultation after the decision has been made will be seen a sick joke by the staff affected.
“This decision exposes a real democratic deficit in Policing in Scotland whereby Police Scotland are simply able to bulldoze through any changes they want with a weeks’ notice, no meaningful consultation and shows that the new model for policing in Scotland isn’t accountable. Ultimately the buck for this stops with the SNP Scottish Government. They set up this model and it is their cuts in funding and obsession with centralisation that has led us to this point and the Justice Minister Kenny Macaskill’s refusal to even question the changes has paved the way for yet more job losses in Dumfries and Galloway”.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown added:
“This decision in my view marks the end of a Scotland wide Police Service. We now have a central belt and north of Scotland Police Force. The SPA had the chance to do right thing and postpone any decision to hold a full consultation and to properly analysis what this means for the distribution of jobs across all parts of Scotland. Instead they chose to just go ahead with Police Scotland’s plans to add the closure of our police control room to their recent decision to close the Fire control room in Dumfries. In making this decision, they have shown that this is not a national police force serving all of Scotland. A Scotland wide service isn’t just about having officers across the country, it is about having a fair share of civilian staff in the all areas. They could have easily retained our control room by pushing other work in their direction. Instead they have sent all the work to the central belt and the north of Scotland and written off Dumfries and Galloway as a forgotten region. This is yet another blow to our region inflicted on us by the policies of SNP Government. They are determined to centralise all public services until there is nothing left in our region.”
Leader of the Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council Ronnie Nicholson said:
“When we met with Senior officers of Police Scotland last week they claimed there would be proper engagement with the council over the way forward yet within hours they had published plans to axe Dumfries control room. The way the council were misled by Police Scotland into believing that as a partner we would be involved in discussions over the issue now leaves me with absolutely no confidence whatsoever in our national police force. It is a very sad day when the Leader of a council finds himself unable to believe anything senior officers in Police Scotland tell them. More importantly it is sad day when 34 dedicated staff in the control room in Dumfries are told their jobs will be axed in a couple of months unless they relocate, which Police Scotland know is simply not an option for most of the families affected”.