Scotland politics

MSPs seek views on Scottish Fire Service shake-up

Scots will be asked to give their views on their local fire service after a major shake-up last year.

A committee of MSPs also wants to know if the public thinks the service has improved after the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was established.

Justice committee convener Christine Grahame said cost-cutting in Scotland would "undoubtedly" have an impact.

On Thursday it was confirmed that five of Scotland's eight fire service control rooms are to shut.

The centres which handle emergency calls at Aberdeen, Inverness, Dumfries, Fife and Falkirk will close over the next three to five years.

Equal access

The decision, made at a meeting of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Board, will leave Edinburgh, Dundee and Johnstone as the three control centres for Scotland.

Since the nationwide fire service was established, it has published 32 local plans outlining aims for improving safety and ensuring equal access to services.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was set up at the same time as the single police force, Police Scotland, with both nationwide services created as a result of the Police and Fire Reform Act.

Ms Grahame said: "The police service has largely been the focus of attention as part of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and we now want to know how the fire service has been affected by the changes brought in last April.

"As part of its strategic plan, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service intend on having only one national training centre and reducing the number of control rooms to three."

She urged people to contact the committee about the change, saying: "Do communities feel their fire service has improved and do they feel they get equal access to fire and rescue services as other parts of the country? Let us know."

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