As you may have seen in the press, plans have been approved to close fire and police control rooms and service centres across Scotland. All three of the facilities in Aberdeen will close, meaning that every 999 or 101 call will now be diverted to the Central Belt or Dundee.
This prompted demonstrations from devastated staff, anger at the Parliament, and caused many of my constituents to get in touch with me.
Hundreds of talented and dedicated staff will lose their jobs. They have played an integral role in saving the lives of many people. Their knowledge of our area, built up through decades’ worth of service and once valued and nurtured, will be lost.
This shows the uncompromising nature of the SNP’s obsession with centralisation. It removed any opportunity for local people to object, meaning the appeals of local communities fell on deaf ears. Local authorities, once integral to the decision-making process, tell me they found out about the plans on the news. Coupled with the fact that Police Scotland refused to hold a public consultation because it considered the issues too complicated for the public to come to an informed opinion on, this shows a worrying disregard for the views of local communities.
Local SNP representatives backed the Justice Secretary to the hilt when he established single police and fire services, blithely dismissing our warnings that it would lead to such closures. It is no surprise therefore that the sincerity of their apparent dismay at the decision to shut our control rooms is being questioned.
Alison McInnes OBE, MSP for North East Scotland