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News : Police Still Pressing Ahead with Redundancies
Bucksburn, Scotland, Nov 30, 2015 -- Police Scotland is pressing ahead with redundancies at an Aberdeen call centre – despite publicly committing to postpone the controversial closure.
Staff at the 101 control room in Bucksburn are still being invited to redundancy interviews, even though bosses promised to pause the mothballing.
The move casts doubts on the force’s commitment to carry-out the recommendations of a damning report into the M9 tragedy, which called for a halt to the closures.
When the report was released earlier this month, Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable Rose Fitzpatrick publically agreed that all the recommendations – including the postponement of control room closures in Aberdeen and Inverness – would be carried out.
But north-east MSP Lewis Macdonald said the revelation that the redundancy process at Bucksburn was still continuing cast doubt on this promise to fulfil the recommendations of the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Scotland (HMICS) report.
Mr Macdonald said: "Police Scotland are asking police staff to make important decisions about their future without having all of the relevant information to hand.
"No-one is able to say when the Aberdeen service centre and control room are now likely to close or even when Police Scotland expect to submit their revised plans for independent scrutiny, as required by HMICS.
"It is unreasonable to expect anyone to accept a voluntary redundancy or early retirement package, or an offer of alternative employment without even knowing when this offer would begin."
The Labour MSP has now written to Assistant Chief Constable Val Thomson to demand urgent clarity on the issue.
Ms Thomson said she would give "careful consideration" to the points made by Mr Macdonald and would respond in "due course".
The damning HMICS report into police call handling in the wake of the M9 crash scandal highlighted how "insufficient staff" resulted in "low levels of performance" in control rooms.
The expert review of police call handling made 30 recommendations for improvements to be addressed "as a priority" after it uncovered a number of weaknesses in the new system.
HMICS was tasked with carrying out the urgent report following the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell in July.
The couple lay undiscovered for days after a crash on the M9 near Stirling despite a sighting of their wrecked car being reported to a police control room.
When the report was released, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said he had been assured Police Scotland would implement all 30 recommendations.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Police Scotland:
The Police Service of Scotland is the primary police service of Scotland. It was formed in 2013 with the merger of all eight territorial police forces in Scotland and the specialist services of the Scottish Police Services Authority, including the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. Although not formally absorbing it, the merger also resulted in the winding down of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2015