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A centre of excellence for the emergency response services is to be located in Dumfries.


The new centre will serve as a national hub to train those dealing with severe weather and flooding. It will draw on existing expertise in the south of Scotland and is a collaboration involving Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as well as the SNP Scottish Government.


Joan McAlpine MSP welcomed the location of the new resilience centre at the Crichton Campus at Dumfries by saying that it showed that the single services were for the whole of Scotland not just the central belt.


She said:


“This new resilience centre of excellence draws on the great expertise we have in Dumfries and Galloway at tackling severe weather conditions in particular. The creation of single Scottish Police and Fire Services had cross party support and to a certain extent was forced on Scotland by severe cuts to our budget by the Westminster government.   It was the best way to ensure we maintained the number of front line officers, which has been slashed down in England.  However we have to push to make the single services work for the whole of Scotland. The best way to do this is to have hubs, or centres of excellence, in every corner of the country. This announcement shows that while we may have single services, they are not centralised services.  They are for the benefit of every part of Scotland.


“People will come to train from all over Scotland and possibly beyond, bringing money into the economy and in particular bringing investment for the local food and drink, and accommodation sectors. It also helps the Crichton Campus which, like other universities, is a big economic generator with considerable potential to create jobs. The SNP government stepped in to save the Crichton Campus when it was under threat a few years ago and this announcement demonstrates their continuing commitment to the Crichton.


“Of course – the decision to locate the centre in Dumfries and Galloway is also a clear recognition of the outstanding existing expertise in the region in terms of emergency response services.”


Minister for the Environment Paul Wheelhouse visited the Crichton Campus on Thursday (14th) to announce the opening of the new centre.


He said:


“The facilities at Crichton Campus are first class and the proximity of the Campus to other institutions, including the Crichton Carbon Centre, the water rescue expertise of the local fire and rescue service and a very experienced team at Dumfries and Galloway Council provides an excellent opportunity for resilience partners, academia and the Scottish Government to work collaboratively on climate and flooding related resilience issues and to optimise multi-agency working.”