Scotland politics

New plan announced for Police Scotland closures

Police call centre
Image caption Staffing levels at Police Scotland call centres increased throughout 2015

Police Scotland has announced a "revised" timetable for changes in the way it handles calls.

Control rooms in Inverness and Aberdeen, originally scheduled for closure in 2015, will now transfer their work to Dundee later this year.

The original closure plan was halted after an Inspector of Constabulary investigation into the M9 crash.

John Yuill and Lamara Bell died after the crash near Stirling, which officers took three days to attend.

A statement from Police Scotland said the pace of change would be managed in a "safe and assured way" and closures will only be implemented when they are approved by the Scottish Police Authority.

'Stable staffing'

A report from HM Inspector of Constabulary Scotland (HMICS) Derek Penman in December said Police Scotland had "stabilised" control room staffing, with a 7.5% increase in numbers.

Mr Penman told the Scottish parliament's justice sub-committee that staffing had settled in October 2015 at 1,563.

He called for assurances that staffing would not slip back when regional call centres are merged.

Inspectors found call centres were left understaffed in the drive to make savings through staff redundancies.

In January, total staff numbers in the contact, command and control centres stood at 1,450.

MSPs were told that staff numbers had increased month by month since January, reaching 1,563 in October.

The SPA said it was working closely with Police Scotland and HMICS to monitor the progress of recommendations from the review of call handling.

A spokesman added: "The SPA is committed to ensuring the workforce are kept up to date about the progress of key reform programmes.

"Engaging with staff manages expectations and allows them to plan and make informed decisions. In addition, no decisions to proceed to the next phase of the reform programme will be made without formal oversight and approval by the SPA."

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