Concern raised over plan to close police control rooms in the north
CONCERNS have been raised about the proposal to close police control rooms in the north with one Highland politician calling it ‘unacceptable’.
Police Scotland plan to close the emergency control rooms in Inverness and Aberdeen, sparking outrage and worries about public safety.
This comes at the same time as a review of police operating functions after two people were left without help for three days after crashing on the M9 earlier this month. John Yuill died at the scene and his girlfriend, Lamara Bell, later died in hospital.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said they are ‘committed’ to the change, which will be subject to consultation by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).
If the closures go ahead, emergency calls for the north would be dealt with from Dundee or the central belt from the end of this year. Rhoda Grant, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said: ‘I think it is unacceptable that the closure plan for emergency control rooms is not put on hold at least until we fully understand what went wrong with the M9 incident.
‘How can the SPA and senior officers within Police Scotland continue with a plan if there are found to be failings in it? I would have thought the common sense and logical approach to these calls would have been to halt the closure plan at least until the outcome of the enquiry is known.’
Councillor Margaret Davidson, leader of Highland council, also expressed her concerns: ‘I am very disappointed to hear that Police Scotland has announced they are going to press ahead with the closure of Inverness and Aberdeen control rooms. This does not help public confidence in decisions made by Police Scotland. To continue with centralisation plans without awaiting the outcome of the review shows an unwillingness to listen and is not a welcome response.’
Assistant chief constable, Val Thomson ,said Police Scotland will engage with local authorities to address concerns.
She added: ‘Local policing remains at the heart of Police Scotland. That principle is very much at the forefront of the proposed changes to C3 division in terms of how we deal with calls to us and how we respond. Similar concerns have been voiced elsewhere during earlier stages of the programme of change and these have not materialised.
‘ We remain committed to the strategic change programme for Contact, Command and Control Division, each phase of which is subject to rigorous consultation and consideration for approval by the SPA.’