SNP councillors respond to police/fire service decision

ELLON and District’s SNP Councillors have expressed their disappointment following a council decision to pass the scrutiny of Aberdeenshire-wide police and fire services to the policy and resources committee.

Councillor Richard Thomson and Councillor Rob Merson had backed calls for a new council ‘Blue Light’ committee to be set up to oversee local police and fire services, following the move to Scotland-wide services next year.

The eight regional police forces, in common with their corresponding fire services, are to merge to form a single national police and a single national fire service from April. Although Scotland-wide boards will have strategic responsibility over the services, the country’s 32 local authorities have been given a free hand in deciding what local accountability measures they want to put in place.

At a full council meeting last Thursday, councillors backed a proposal supported by the Aberdeenshire Council administration, which transferred the remaining work of the Grampian Police and Fire Joint Boards to the policy committee.

SNP councillors had earlier voiced fears that parts of Aberdeenshire risked coming off a poor second to areas which are better represented on the policy committee. The current 14-strong committee contains six councillors from the Garioch area, three from Formartine, two from Marr, and one each from the Kincardine and Mearns, Buchan and Banff & Buchan areas.