Leader to meet with Minister to discuss handling of emergency calls
The Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has written to the Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing MSP, in relation to the recent press coverage on concerns raised about the handling of emergency calls in the Highlands and Islands.
Councillor Davidson said: “It does raise concerns over the Government’s decision to close the Inverness Fire control room and transfer responsibility for handling emergency calls to Dundee. This is within the broader context of the impending transfer, this summer, of Police call handling from Inverness to a national service centre, which cannot become operational unless Police Scotland meets over 30 recommendations from the Penman report after the Lamara Bell incident.
“It is critically important that communities across the Highlands have confidence that when they need emergency assistance, it is provided as quickly and as effectively as possible.
"We have had an excellent service from our Fire and Rescue Service in the Highlands over the years and have good relationships with local staff, however, the continued move to centralisation of services away from the North has a detrimental impact on both local decision making and public confidence.”
She went on to say: "I look forward to discussing these issues with the Minister at our meeting which is being arranged."
In the meantime, the Leader has written to the Chief Fire Officer to establish the facts of the matter and Chair of the Communities and Partnerships Committee, Cllr Hamish Fraser has been in discussion with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager for Highland.
Cllr Fraser added: “The Local Senior Officer has given me strong reassurances and I have now received initial information regarding some alleged incidents about the tasking fire appliances to respond to emergency calls in the Highlands. We will need to consider this information and have further discussion to seek assurances on the performance of the new control room and the appropriate deployment of emergency services across our area.”