MP accuses Police Scotland of ‘utter dereliction of duty’

Police Scotland has given up the right to call itself a Scotland-wide service, claimed a local MP this week.

Following the news that a paper will go before the Police Scotland Board next week proposing the closure of the police control room in Dumfries, MP Russell Brown said that this along with the closure of the Fire Control room in Dumfries, the closure and downgrading of local courts in the region plans to remove public counters from a number of local police stations, show a centralisation of public services by the SNP Scottish Government.

The MP said: “The proposal from Police Scotland preserve services in the east, west and north of Scotland but once again the south of Scotland is ignored. Frankly, Police Scotland no longer has the right to use Scotland in their title. If they were a police force for the whole nation, they would look to retain a fair share of support services in the south of Scotland but they haven’t. There is no doubt in my mind we will see a continual decline and the eventual closure of the Cornwall Mount headquarters in Dumfries as more and more services are centralised by the SNP Government and jobs are lost.

“Morale amongst both civilian staff and police officers in Dumfries and Galloway is rock bottom and they are simply wondering what is next. What is so frustrating is that Police Scotland have retained the Inverness office not as a national control room but by pushing other work in their direction but they have chosen not to do the same for Dumfries. It is one rule for one part of Scotland and another for our area. There are options they could have explored to retain the Dumfries control room but they failed to do so and frankly that in my view is an utter dereliction of duty by Police Scotland.”

Responding to the announcement of proposals that would see the closure of Dumfries Police Control Room as part of the reorganisation of Police Scotland, Labour South Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish said: “These proposals represent the latest shift to more centralised policing and the erosion of local accountability.

“Once again, we are looking at the loss of skilled jobs in the region and redeployment looks unlikely unless staff are willing to relocate to the central belt.

“Consultation with those affected must not be a box ticking exercise. Every effort should be made to help staff find suitable alternative roles where appropriate or to support them to find work outside of the force.

“If these proposals are allowed to go ahead, we also need clear assurances from Police Scotland and the Scottish Government that communities in Dumfries & Galloway will not be disadvantaged in terms of local policing.

“I know that concerns over local delivery and staff consultation have been raised with Police Scotland by Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, Graeme Pearson, and I will be monitoring this situation closely.”