Liberal Democrats demand better scrutiny of police and fire services in Dundee
Next Monday – 22nd January – Liberal Democrats on Dundee City Council will seek to scrutiny of police and fire services in Dundee which was reduced last year by the council’s SNP administration.
Traditionally, senior Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service officers gave detailed updates quarterly to the council’s Community Safety and Public Protection Committee and then answered detailed questions in that public forum from councillors across the political spectrum.
All 29 Dundee councillors were members of that committee but the SNP administration axed the committee last year.
Councillor Michael Crichton, councillor for the West End, said, “The Community Safety and Public Protection Committee held its final meeting in June 2023 and scrutiny by Dundee City councillors of police and fire services was moved to the council’s Scrutiny Committee.
“The LibDems opposed that because this has resulted in the council’s public scrutiny of these services being remitted to just eight of the council’s 29 councillors. It also means that no elected representatives from some wards are represented as no-one from that area of Dundee is a member of the Scrutiny Committee.
“There used to be a great deal of detailed scrutiny of police and fire services, vital emergency services, and that is now restricted to just eight councillors which is a ridiculous loss of questioning and scrutiny of this vital area of service provision.
“The Liberal Democrats are therefore next Monday proposing that, to improve the level of scrutiny, scrutiny of Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is removed from the Scrutiny Committee and a new emergency services scrutiny board, which would meet in public and whose membership would include all 29 Dundee City Councillors.
“This would restore proper scrutiny and get rid of having a bizarre situation where some councillors and areas of Dundee are second class citizens when it comes to holding police and fire services to account.”
The Liberal Democrat motion to propose this has been deemed legally competent by council legal officers and it will go before councillors at the City Governance Committee next Monday. Councillor Crichton will propose the change and the motion will be seconded by Broughty Ferry councillor Craig Duncan.
Councillor Duncan added, “Proper scrutiny of police and fire services has never been more vital. Thanks to cuts by the SNP Scottish Government, both services are under real pressure.
“We have already seen recent proposals to shut three more Dundee police stations including Hilltown and Ryehill and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been forced to reduce the number of available appliances in Dundee.
“We therefore hope there will be cross-party support for our sensible proposals.”