Concerns Over 999 Calls Pressure

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called for a halt to further police control-room closures following reports of problems at the Edinburgh centre.

He said the Bilston Glen control-room near the capital was struggling to cope after taking on all emergency and routine calls from Fife following the closure of the Glenrothes control-room last week.

Mr Rennie told Holyrood that more than 1,000 calls were dropped in one day, with non-emergency calls taking 40 minutes to answer.

He said subsequently around a dozen staff had been off sick and it was now taking up to 58 minutes to answer calls.

The Glenrothes control-room is one of five across Scotland to be closed, preceded by Dumfries and Stirling and to be followed by Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Police Scotland said it was part of plans to "modernise contact, command and control arrangements''.

Speaking at First Minister's Questions, Mr Rennie said: "The closure of Dumfries last year was described as shambolic.

"Stirling was closed, and only weeks later had to re-open in an emergency, and Aberdeen and Inverness are still to come.

"I am alarmed that the First Minister seems to be unaware of the problems because earlier this month there was almost a critical incident because staff levels were so low.

"Will she today call a halt to further closures while she gets a grip at Bilston Glen?''

Ms Sturgeon said the changeover period for Fife had been extended and she would raise the matter with the Justice Secretary and Police Scotland.

"People have the right to get a high-quality service from the police and where for any reason that is falling short then we will ensure that action is taken to rectify that,'' she said.

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