South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has called for Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House to think again about the closure of Dumfries control room – warning that the single police force should not become the central police force.
The SNP MSP has requested a meeting with Sir House to see what can be done for the dedicated staff of the Dumfries and Galloway police control room which is set to have its work moved to Motherwell and Glasgow.
She will also ask Sir House and fire chiefs to relocate a centre of excellence in the south west – pointing out the areas considerable expertise in fire and rescue as well as policing - gained through experience of dealing with issues ranging from rural crime and flooding - to the biggest criminal investigation in Scottish history after the Lockerbie disaster.
Ms McAlpine met with control room staff in Dumfries last Friday along with Aileen McLeod MSP and local SNP councillor Rob Davidson.
Following the meeting she commented:
“The staff I met who are facing losing their jobs are rightly very angry - they are professionals with excellent call response times and first class local knowledge.
“The fact is that George Osborne has slashed the Scottish grant, meaning we have lost one pound in every ten – and that has meant some very hard choices
“However despite these Westminster cuts the Scottish Government have managed to deliver an increase in police officer numbers across Scotland, which stands in stark contrast to the situation in England and Wales where they have fallen by 14,186 since 2009.
“If Scotland went down that road we would lose more than 2000 officers from the streets.”
“This is an operational decision for Sir Stephen House - not the Scottish Government - and other parties should hesitate before using it to attack the Scottish Government, particularly Labour who campaigned vociferously for a single force.
“That doesn’t mean a single force should be a central force however and I Intend to make it very clear to Sir House that the South West must reap the benefits of a single police force.”