First Minister Alex Salmond has refused to rule out closing emergency service call centres when police and fire brigades are merged into single units.
The present eight regional police forces and fire brigades are to be merged into national services by April next year, in a cost-cutting measure designed to save £1.7 billion over 15 years.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie demanded a guarantee at First Minister’s Questions that emergency control rooms would not be closed.
Mr Salmond gave no such guarantee but instead attacked the Lib Dems for “spreading gloom, doom and despondency” with their insistence that “central Scottish services won’t work for local communities”.
“So, no answer”, said Mr Rennie. “Absolutely no answer.
“He stood there before, boasting about the big numbers his centralisation plans will save, and we should not forget that in his own consultation these plans were rejected by two to one. So, don’t give me any of that tosh about the public supporting his plans for centralisation.The truth is his changes will cost – not save – money, which is why these control rooms are under threat.
“People at the police federation think emergency control rooms will close. When will this decision be made? People rely on control rooms at Thornton, Dundee, Inverness, Aberdeen, Govan and so many more. When will they be told their fate?”
A Scottish Government spokesman said later: “It will be for the new chief constable and chief officer, together with the Scottish Police Authority and SFRS [Scottish Fire and Rescue Service] board, to decide how the new services will be organised.”