Councillors ‘sickened’ by Police Scotland news

Concern has grown over the weekend about plans announced on Friday by Police Scotland to reduce their number of command and control locations - which would see the Dumfries centre closed.

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Ronnie Nicholson responded with shock and disappointment to the news and said he was upset at teh lack of warning.

He said: “Alongside the deputy council leader, I met with the deputy chief constable Rose Fitzpatrick of Police Scotland as recently as Wednesday 22 January. We stressed the need for consultation with local people and organisations before any proposals for control room closures were progressed. I am shocked that the deputy chief constable did not have the courtesy to inform us that a paper on proposed closures would be going to the Scottish Police Authority Board next week.”

Deputy leader, councillor Brian Collins, added: “I support everything the leader has said. We were given assurances by DCC Fitzpatrick that early dialogue would be at the top of her agenda in all future dealing between our Council and Police Scotland. I am sickened by the announcement and its timing in relation to these assurances.

“This would be a great loss to our region, not only in terms of jobs, but also in terms of local knowledge. Callers expect a rapid response to their enquiries and a degree of understanding of the local geography and community issues by the call handlers. People need to have confidence that the Police can respond effectively to their concerns, especially in critical situations. This closure will undermine that trust and confidence in the effectiveness of policing in our region.”

Councillor Andrew Wood is chair of the council’s Police, Fire and Rescue Sub Committee said: “There has been a distinct lack of consultation about these proposals. I will certainly be lobbying intensely about this matter which is of great importance to people in Dumfries and Galloway.”