Liberal Democrats campaigning for local policing

As featured on tonight’s STV News and on local radio, North East Scotland MSP Alison McInnes, together with myself and Dundee Liberal Democrat colleagues, today launched a petition outside Tayside Police’s Headquarters that invites the public to support the campaign to stop Scotland’s emergency services being centralised into Scotland-wide force.

Alison then visited the Broughty Ferry and West End shopping areas to meet local people and explain why she and the Liberal Democrats oppose the abolition of Tayside Police and Tayside Fire and Rescue and believe that centralised police and fire services would be to the detriment of areas of Scotland outside Strathclyde & the central belt.

Alison said, “The SNP Scottish Government is aggressively pursuing the creation of a single nationwide police force and a one-size fits all approach to policing. It is clear that this proposal is being driven by personal preference rather than facts.

“However the Justice Minister has failed to give any details of where the £200 million savings that he purports will be made is to be found. In reality, it will be hugely expensive, increase political interference and could reduce the number of officers on the beat. Indeed there are fears that the proposals could result in the loss of up to 4,000 officers across Scotland.”

Allan Petrie, former Dundee Councillor and now Convener of Dundee Liberal Democrats, added, “The Scottish Government has failed to account for the costs of implementing a merger. This could amount to millions of pounds and was the reason similar plans were previously scrapped both here and in England and Wales.

“Tayside is already one of the most efficient police forces in the country. It would be extremely foolish to see an efficient force like Tayside become part of a Scotland wide force, to the detriment of the people of Dundee, Angus and Perthshire.”

Allan added that a merged Fire Service could result in re-opening the debate over the future of the Balmossie Fire Station. He said it was very clear that the people in Barnhill, Monifieth and across Broughty Ferry who are served by Balmossie do not want to see the fire station downgraded and he was concerned that, in a single Scotland-wide fire service, local voices would be drowned out.

Alison Burns, Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee City West, said, “Inevitably, with a single force run from either Edinburgh or Glasgow, bureaucrats would be given far too much say over local policing without full awareness of local circumstances and issues.

“This policy poses the greatest challenge to our local police service for a generation and would be disastrous for Dundee and Tayside.”

From my own perspective, it is clear, speaking to constituents in the West End today that they are very concerned by these Fire Service and Policing centralisation proposals. People in Dundee value local Police and Fire services and centralising the services into a national service is something they view with concern.

THE PETITION READS :

“We are concerned that a one-size-fits-all approach to our emergency services will leave our area worse off. We are concerned that it will lead to a loss of local accountability, increase political interference and reduce the numbers of officers on the beat and firefighters in our local fire stations.

Help Alison and the local Scottish Liberal Democrats oppose the proposed centralisation of the Police and our Fire and Rescue Services by signing our petition and returning it to: Alison McInnes, Dundee Liberal Democrats, Freepost SCO3668, Dundee, DD4 7ZR.

“I/We the undersigned oppose any moves toward a single nationwide Police Force or Fire and Rescue Service”.

Some photos from today :

Above:   From Left – Me, Alison McInnes, Alison Burns and Allan Petrie

Above :  Alison McInnes in the West End

Above :  From left – Alison McInnes, Alison Burns and I take the petition to Blackness Fire Station

Michael Moore MP in Dundee

Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, was in Dundee earlier today and, along with our two Dundee LibDem parliamentary candidates Alison Burns and Allan Petrie, I had the pleasure of meeting him during his visit.

The photograph below is of (from left) Allan Petrie, myself, Michael Moore and Alison Burns, pictured at RRS Discovery. 

News from Dundee LibDems – Alison Burns becomes Dundee West candidate

 Announcement from Dundee Liberal Democrats this afternoon :

Well known Dundee lawyer and jazz singer Alison Burns has become the new Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee West in advance of next year’s Scottish Parliamentary elections.
Alison’s life, which saw her go from being the first female apprentice engineer at Timex, to a lawyer and tutor at the University of Dundee and then onto international success as a jazz singer, reflects the modern City of Dundee with its combination of industry, academia and the arts.

Following the announcement of her selection as the Lib Dem candidate Alison said, “It’s a real honour to have been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Dundee West, the city where I was born, grew up in and love.

I am not a career politician but I got involved in politics because I feel passionate about creating a fairer Scotland and a more prosperous and vibrant Dundee.
I hope to knock on thousands of doors over the coming months and personally meet with as many local residents as possible in order to act on their concerns to establish a credible alternative to Labour and the SNP in Dundee.”

Brought up in Downfield in Dundee and educated at St. Columba’s Primary Dundee, Lawside Academy and the University of Dundee, Alison Burns brings wide ranging experience and energy to politics.
 
On leaving secondary school Alison became one of the first female apprentice engineers at Timex in 1977 before going on to work for British Telecom in Dundee as a draftsperson.
In 1987 she decided to follow her love of the arts by becoming a professional actress working at Dundee Rep before going on to present TV shows for Channel 4 and BBC Scotland as well as acting in theatre, television and film. Around this time her career as a singer was also taking off as she worked with Danny Wilson, Michael Marra and co-founded the well known Dundee singing group The Penny Dainties.

In 1992 she went to college and studied to attain the academic qualifications to be accepted into the Law Faculty at the University of Dundee. Upon graduation she worked as a solicitor for Thorntons WS in Dundee and Arbroath before moving on to becoming a consultant for leading London law firm.

In 2001 she co-founded a successful music company as well as becoming a trustee for a charity.
She joined the Liberal Democrats in 2005 and acted as campaign manager for a number of Parliamentary election campaigns as well as working to increase the number of female candidates in the party.
Alison now sits on the board of Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) as an external trustee and is a practising solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property law.