A row has broken out between a trade union and the Scottish Government over discussions with staff about plans to close police control rooms.
Unison accused Kenny MacAskill, pictured, of misleading parliament after he told MSPs Police Scotland and its watchdog, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), “will continue to consult” over the proposals, which will go before the SPA tomorrow.
Police Scotland confirmed no formal consultation can take place before the decision is approved.
But the Scottish Government hit back and said Mr MacAskill was referring to ongoing discussions with representatives that first took place before the announcement.
The plans, first revealed by The Courier last week, will see Dundee become a north area command control centre, which authorities say will lead to extra jobs coming to the city.
However, facilities in Glenrothes and Stirling are set for the axe, alongside others across the country.
If approved, the number of police control rooms would drop from 10 to five over the next two years.
During a question session at Holyrood, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine asked Mr MacAskill to “explain in more detail the consultation process”.
He replied: “As I said, the management and the Scottish Police Authority will continue to consult with the unions.
“There have been discussions albeit truncated between the SPA and police.”
George McIrvine, police staff branch secretary for Unison, branded the Justice Secretary’s claims “a disgrace” and said papers for consultation will be tabled on February 20, when the formal process is earmarked to begin.
He added: “MacAskill misled parliament. There has been no consultation whatsoever with trade unions with regards to control rooms.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The chief constable and Police Scotland officers and staff have ongoing engagement with Unison and other trade unions and staff associations.
“The cabinet secretary also meets Unison each quarter.
“The unions have been aware of the broad proposals on control rooms for some time now, and were informed of the detailed proposals ahead of the formal announcement.
“Subject to the SPA’s agreement to the proposals, further consultation and discussion with unions and staff will take place at each stage of the process.”
The fall out came as MSPs claimed the closure of emergency services control rooms would result in compulsory redundancies in “all but name”.
Liberal Democrat Alison McInnes said “hundreds of staff” would be forced to accept voluntary redundancy “because many of them cannot afford to move up to 200 miles, uproot their families and leave their loved ones and homes behind”.