Judicial review sought for control room closures

ABERDEEN City Council’s ruling Labour-led coalition is set to seek a judicial review of the controversial plans to close both the fire and police control centres in Europe’s oil capital.

Control room jobs could be cut if the plans go ahead. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Control room jobs could be cut if the plans go ahead. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Yesterday’s’ decision by the police and fire service boards will leave both the North east and North of Scotland without dedicated locally-based control rooms.

Leaders of the Labour, Independent and Conservative administration are planning to lodge an emergency motion at next Thursday’s meeting of the full council, calling for the closures to be reviewed by Law Lords at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

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Councillor Willie Young, the council’s finance convener, said today: “We are asking our officers to report on the possibility of seeking a judicial review into these decisions We are taking an emergency motion to a meeting of the full council.”

He claimed: “There has been no consultation, and we need to protect the citizens of Aberdeen. We are absolutely worried what the consequences of these decisions will be.”

Meanwhile Kevin Stewart, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, today lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament, calling on the Fire Board and Scottish Police Authority to consider pooling their resources to create a combined Fire and Police control room in Aberdeen.

Mr Stewart, who has previously written to the Police and Fire Boards calling for the control rooms to be retained in Aberdeen, said: “We have very skilled control room staff in Aberdeen and in my opinion their experience should be retained. I believe that the Fire Board and Police Authority should revisit their decision and consider pooling their resources to create an emergency control room hub here in Aberdeen, in order to retain the expertise that exists here.”

He added: “I would argue that this is a common sense proposal and I do hope that the Fire Board and Police Authority will give it the consideration that I think it deserves.”

Nanette Milne, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East, is also seeking a full debate of the Aberdeen control centre closures in the Scottish Parliament.

She said: “The head in the sand approach adopted by the SNP Government on the issue of Aberdeen Police control room closures cannot continue. People across the North East are furious at the SNP cuts and demand answers.

“In my time as an MSP I have not seen such an inadequate consultation process and I am concerned that this has resulted in the facts and information which have been used to reach this decision not being fully comprehensive with no public consultation whatsoever.”

Ms Milne added: “We need to have all the facts made available to see how Police Scotland have reached a point where we will have no emergency control centres north of Dundee. I also believe such an important matter should be debated in depth within the Scottish Parliament and hope that the Scottish Government. This is too big a decision for the SNP to simply brush off as a Police Scotland operational matter.”

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Minister, commented: “It’s a matter for them (the council) to take their own legal advice. But I do think there is a great deal of hypocrisy here. A decade ago, when they had a Labour-Liberal administration we moved from eight to three ambulance service despatch centres and actually the response times have improved.”