Lib Dems call for halt to service cuts

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Galloway Liberal Democrats are calling on the SNP Government to put a halt to the wholesale dismantling of local police and fire services in Dumfries and Galloway.

The call follows a series of announcements from the new centralised national police and fire service organisations set up by the SNP who took over control of the “well-respected, highly performing and locally accountable constabulary and fire and rescue services” in April this year.

The Lib Dems say that in the past couple of weeks, communities across the region have faced a series of cut-back announcements, with apparently no local consultation. The fire control room in Dumfries is set to close, with jobs being moved to the central belt. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have also announced that they plan it build a huge new headquarters – but have ruled out looking at any sites outwith the central belt.

Meanwhile, Police Scotland have confirmed they plan to close some control rooms, with the Dumfries base being seen as at particularly at risk. Plus they want to end public access to police stations in Newton Stewart, Kirkcudbright and Dalbeattie.

Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland said: “First it was Dumfries fire control centre, then it was front desks at police stations and now it’s Dumfries police control centre in the firing line. The SNP have so far shown nothing but contempt for communities across Dumfries and Galloway in their obsession for centralising our emergency services, which has led to essential frontline services being ripped out of the heart of our communities.”

“The proposed closure of three public counters in police stations across the Dumfries and Galloway region could have a real impact on long-established links between police and the local communities in this rural and sometimes remote region.”

A spokesman for Galloway Liberal Democrats added: “We warned at the time of the last election that the SNP’s centralisation of police and fire services would be bad news for Dumfries and Galloway. At the time we were told we were scaremongering. Now all our fears are becoming reality.”

“What’s worse is that the SNP seem to be wiping their hands of the issue, saying that operational control of police and fire now rests with their two centralised authorities. The SNP set up these organisations and the public will rightly hold them responsible for their actions.”

“It’s now time for representatives of the SNP to come to Newton Stewart, Dalbeattie and Kirkcudbright to explain to local residents why their local police stations are turning their backs on their local communities. Or perhaps they would like to meet with local police and fire room control staff and explain why their jobs are being moved to the Central Belt?”

“The worry is that there are still another two and a half years before the voters of Dumfries and Galloway get a chance to get rid of this SNP Government. How much more damage can they inflict on our public services in that time?”