A decision by police and fire chiefs to close the Aberdeen control rooms for both services has been described as ‘‘a dark day for the North-east.’’
The decisions were made within hours of each other last Thursday, after Police Scotland reduced their control rooms to five and the fire service to three.
The work of the Aberdeen centres will be transferred to Dundee which will cover the whole of the north of Scotland from December 2015.
News of the closures, likely to lead to the loss of several hundred highly-skilled jobs across Scotland, has been met by anger from politicians, trade unions and communities in the North-east.
Speaking after the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) board meeting in Dundee, North East MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “This decision makes a mockery of the claim that the creation of the single fire service is about saving public money.
“The SFRS have voted today to close a modern, purpose-built facility in Aberdeen.
‘‘At the same time, they agreed to spend over £2million to build a similarly-equipped control room in Dundee.”
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison said: “This was a very dark day for the North-east.
‘‘It came as a direct consequence of the SNP’s centralisation of the police and fire services into single Scottish forces under direct ministerial control.
“The Justice Secretary boasted that the move would generate savings of more than £1bn from police budgets alone, through reducing duplication, while protecting the number of police officers in Scotland.”
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “To protect our communities and save lives, it’s vital that our emergency services have the sophisticated systems, expertise and equipment to ensure every community across Scotland receives the highest quality of service as quickly as possible , and we have every sympathy with all of the staff affected by these changes.”
Nanette Milne, Scottish Conservative MSP for North East, said: “People in the North-east increasingly feel that the SNP are taking the area for granted and the SNP Policing and Fire service cuts proves this.
“The SNP have become a party of centralisation that is increasingly ignoring the needs of the North and North-east.”