999 control rooms move to portable buildings branded ‘betrayal’

Fire service staff will now use portable buildings until a controversial move to a new Dundee base is completed. Picture: Toby Williams

Fire service staff will now use portable buildings until a controversial move to a new Dundee base is completed. Picture: Toby Williams

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Fire service staff are to work out of portable buildings following the controversial closure of control rooms in Aberdeen and Inverness, it has emerged.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said workers would operate from “specialised modular accommodation” as part of a phased re-location to a new command centre in Dundee.

Concerns have repeatedly been raised about the closure of the control rooms in Aberdeen and Inverness, with campaigners warning about a loss of local knowledge.

The SFRS plans to close the call centres in the coming months, with the new premises in Dundee not expected to be up and running until April.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said the move to temporary accommodation was a “betrayal”.

He said: “We were told that these centres are set to be replaced by a state-of-the-art facility but now we learn fire service staff will be stacked up in portable cabins for months on end before the work to upgrade Dundee is finished.

“This is hardly what was promised. There seems to be no good reason to move staff from the existing control rooms in Aberdeen and Inverness until the new centre is complete and the systems are robust.”

He added: “The closure plans raised huge questions over loss of local knowledge and the fire service were quick to provide reassurances that there would be no impact on life saving services. Many people will feel betrayed by this announcement.”

The fire service announced the closure of five control rooms – in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dumfries, Fife and Falkirk – in 2014. The three remaining control rooms are in Johnstone, Edinburgh and Dundee. The SFRS said its ability to handle emergencies would not be diminished during the move to the temporary buildings.

A spokesman said: “Whilst we finalise the new state-of-the-art control facility in Dundee, our teams will operate from specialised modular accommodation.

“This is part of our planned integration programme and will continue to provide full operational capability. The SFRS responds to every emergency 999 call and that will not change.”

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