Local Labour politicians have accused the Scottish Government of betraying the people of Dumfries and Galloway after it emerged that Fire Service Control room in Dumfries looks set to close.
The proposal would see functions transferred from the Dumfries and Galloway control room to Johnstone as part the fire service strategic review of facilities which is being discussed at a meeting of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Board on Thursday (26 September).
This review may see a number of control rooms closing across the country with their services being centralised to certain areas. This is despite the Scottish Government’s repeated claims that no central action was to be taken to reduce the number of fire and rescue control rooms.
Dumfriesshire MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Community Safety, Elaine Murray MSP said, “This is a betrayal of the people of Dumfries and Galloway by the SNP Scottish Government. In the past SNP Ministers have said they opposed the closure of control rooms, but the way they set up the single Fire Service means the very opposite is happening. When local people voiced their concerns about the merging of the fire brigades into one force, time and time again the Scottish Government reassured everyone by claiming this would be a Scotland wide Fire Service. It isn’t. Whether it is the new Fire Headquarters, control rooms or training centres, there isn’t a single facilty being based south of Glasgow. It is a centralised Fire Service and Dumfries and Galloway is once again the forgotten region”.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said, “At a time we have an employment crisis in our region, we have a Scottish Government cutting jobs in Dumfries and Galloway and moving them to the central belt. The SNP Government have already failed to provide this region with the necessary help needed to create jobs. Now their policies are actually costing us jobs. There are very few alternative jobs for people in a rural area such as this, and it is totally impractical to expect staff in Dumfries to commute to Renfrewshire. We should be in now doubt that there is more to come. First we had the court closures and I have no doubt next on the hit list will be the police control room in Dumfries."
"The SNP will not be satisfied until they have torn the heart out of public services in Dumfries and Galloway. Their contempt for our region is quite shocking. It shows that they have no interest whatsoever in the people of Dumfries and Galloway”.
Councillor Ronnie Ogilvie, Labour spokesperson on Police, Fire and Public Protection added, “Losing the Dumfries and Galloway control centre would be to the detriment of the community and I have no doubt that this decision will put lives at risk. By losing the local centre, we will lose local knowledge. There was a recent incident of a fire in Cumbria and Lancaster Fire control room answered the call and mobilised a fire engine from Annan, instead of Carlisle which was closure simply because they didn’t have local knowledge."
"At times of emergency, people need to know that the fire service are being giving the best route so they can get to an emergency as quickly as possible. By centralising the fire centre, there is risk that people giving instructions, will have limited to no knowledge of the area and risk sending firemen to the wrong location. "