Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Closure of Dumfries police control room is ‘tip of the iceberg’, says UNISON

Tuesday 27 May 2014

UNISON, Scotland's largest union representing police staff, has condemned the closure of Dumfries Police Control Room later this week (Friday) and says communities will suffer as a result.

The move is the first of five planned control room closures announced by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) earlier this year as part of a 'restructure'. The tasks currently performed at the control room - including dealing with emergency and non-emergency calls from the public and dispatching police officers to incidents - will move to Glasgow Service Centre and area control rooms.

George McIrvine, Branch Secretary of UNISON’s Police Staff Scotland Branch, said: 
"A huge amount of local knowledge will be lost and communities will suffer as a result. Now, when a member of the public calls, they will be speaking to a central control centre many miles away. There is understandably a lot of anger in local communities.

"The decision to close police control rooms shows that the SPA is prioritising cost over communities and UNISON will continue to fight for the services our communities rely on and for the hard-working staff who deliver them."

SPA plans to close down 5 control centres over 18 to 24 months. Dumfries and Galloway is the first to go, with a loss of 34 jobs; then Stirling in December 2014; Glenrothes in March 2015; Pitt Street Glasgow in March 2015 and Aberdeen in December 2015. There are 300 police staff jobs at risk.

Gerry Crawley, Regional Organiser for UNISON Scotland, said: 

"This is a real blow for the people of Dumfries and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Scottish Government is cutting £139 million from police budgets between now and 2017 and £1 billion over 12 years.

"This is just part of the longer term problem. The Scottish Government is hiding behind the line that it will maintain police numbers. This means police staff will bear the brunt of these cuts even where this may not be the best way forward."

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