Police chiefs approve plans to close Inverness control room

Police chiefs have approved the closure of the police control room and service centre in Inverness.

Police chiefs have approved the closure of the police control room and service centre in Inverness.

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Call handling activity and incident management will move to the Dundee control room in around three months, after the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) approved plans for closure in consultation with staff.

It follows the closure of the Aberdeen control room earlier this year, with its functions also moving to Dundee and Police Scotland Service Centre sites.

Approval was also given at the SPA meeting for the creation of a National Database Enquiry Unit based in Inverness and Glasgow, with staff working in the northern control room expected to cross over to the new unit.

Proposals said the unit will allow better and quicker searches of the Police National Computer and criminal history databases, which are currently accessed around 1,600 times a day with different areas following different procedures.

Creation of the unit was approved subject to consultation with staff involved.

At the start of the meeting in Inverness, Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told SPA members he has taken over leadership of Police Scotland while Chief Constable Phil Gormley is on special leave with allegations of gross misconduct being investigated.

Mr Livingstone said: “I had intended to retire in the autumn and pursue other avenues of activity but given the current situation I’ve decided to remain in post for the foreseeable future.

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“With the demands and challenges currently facing Police Scotland I consider it my duty to remain in service.

“My focus is on ensuring we continue to meet the operational and organisational challenges that we face every day and providing the leadership and assurance that is needed at this time.

“Chair, I can assure you and colleagues and the wider public that we have a united and committed senior team and I am confident we will take the service forward.”

Police Scotland said the National Database Enquiry Unit will take on the demand for checks currently placed on area control rooms, enabling controllers to concentrate on the management of police incidents.

The proposals approved by the SPA sees 28 permanent staff posts retained in Inverness with every member of police staff affected by the closure offered a job in the new unit, while 14 police officers, currently deployed within Inverness control room will return to operational duties in the Highlands & Islands Division.

DCC Livingstone added: “I want to make an additional commitment today. As Police Scotland works through the transformation of our Corporate Services Division and our corporate support roles, we will do everything we can to decentralise these posts from the Central Belt and bring more jobs to places like Inverness, in addition to the posts we have protected at this time.”