MP alarmed by police station closures

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Politicians have reacted angrily to the news Police Scotland has confirmed plans to close its control centre in Stirling.

The service provided from the former headquarters of Central Scotland Police at 
Randolphfield is one of six to be axed under sweeping changes approved by Chief Constable Stephen House.

East Falkirk and Linlithgow Labour MP Michael Connarty said he “fears” for the future of local policing and has written to House to complain.

He said: “It is with utter dismay that I hear that Police Scotland has agreed to merge control rooms across Scotland which has resulted in the closure of the Stirling facility. This means my constituents in Falkirk will now be speaking with a call handler working out of Bilston in Edinburgh with no local knowledge.

“Since the formation of 
Police Scotland we have had the police station front desk closures, the stopping of Police Traffic Wardens and now the mergers of control centres. I fear for the future of local policing.

“Centralisation may make sense financially but, as a public service tasked with protecting our communities, my concern is Police Scotland loses the trust that our police has in our area if the centralisation agenda continues.”

In his letter to Scotland’s top cop, he demanded assurances the mix-ups and confusion that occurred during the ambulance control mergers does not return.

He said: “There were problems for patients with the EH49 postcode from Whitecross in Falkirk district as the ambulances got lost in Linlithgow Bridge, which has the same post code but is in West Lothian. Will Lothian police be sent to Falkirk EH49 situations or even EH51 which is in Bo’ness in Falkirk district but with a Lothian postcode? How will Police Scotland prevent this from happening?”

Margaret Mitchell, Tory MSP for Central Scotland, has called on the Scottish Government to safeguard valuable local knowledge by looking at alternatives to the closures.

She said: “Control rooms deal with 999 and 101 calls and provide a valuable frontline resource ensuring incidents are dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible. These closures will result in the loss of highly-skilled jobs and important local knowledge which can make all the difference when responding to emergencies. The staff fearing for their jobs deserve better than this.”