Attacks on Fire Fighters Unacceptable

As a member of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board I totally condemn attacks on firefighters such as the one which injured a firefighter from Balmossie Station recently.

It is despicable that firefighters have been attacked. Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect the public and they should be respected. It is not acceptable that these public servants are attacked. I hope that those responsible are caught.

Attacks on firefighters could delay firefighters from attending a fire and as well as possible injury to firefighters these attacks really do put lives at risk.

There is no excuse for attacks on public servants and I think that anyone who carries out such an attack should be ashamed of themselves.


Community Spirit Action Group Meeting

On Wednesday evening I was pleased to attend a meeting of the Community Spirit Action Group. The meeting was very interesting and there was a presentation on the work of community payback. There was also a long discussion about bus services in the area. The on-going problems with the bus services demonstrate the need for greater regulation of the bus industry.s


Balgay Vandalism Disgraceful

I've commented on yet more vandalism at Balgay Cemetery. These further attacks of vandalism are disgraceful. Whoever did this should be ashamed of themselves. I hope that anyone with information will contact the police.

We should not have to have security at a cemetery but I will be speaking to the council to see if there is anything more that can be done to protect the cemetery. These acts of vandalism cause a lot of grief.

You can read about the impact of this disgraceful vandalism in the report from the Courier . This shows just how upsetting this is to bereaved people. The people responsible must be caught.

Dundee City Council Committee Meetings

Monday evening saw a lengthy meeting of the City Council and its various committees. At the Housing Committee there were proposals to develop a sort of intermediate level of housing called amenity housing which would be somewhere between mainstream housing and sheltered housing. I am really pleased that local people and opposition parties have made their views known and the SNP Administration have decided not to progress plans to scrap sheltered lounges or wardens. I was also pleased that the council will be promoting home insulation, finding effective ways of dealing with fuel poverty and carbon footprints is very important.

The City Development Committee was scheduled to discuss bus services between the West End and St John's. This was withdrawn because at long last council officers are taking the concerns of local parents seriously. I hope that a solution will be forthcoming before too long.

At the Policy and Resources Committee I asked about future plans for the Community Learning and Development section. This section has received excellent reports from the HMIe, which are sector-leading. The council has made a number of changes to this section recently with a number of staff members leaving and the section being moved. I was delighted that the Chief Executive gave me a reassurance that the aim is to maintain the high level of service.

There was also a report on the increasing pressures on children's services. It is important that the council provides the appropriate services to vulnerable children. We need to see if there are ways to help finance this but we also need to note that child safety is priceless and the top priority.

I was pleased to support my colleague Kevin Keenan in calling for better medical services in Ardler.

Tayside Fire and Rescue Board

On Monday I was at the October meeting of the Tayside Fire and Rescue Board. One of the main issues was the future of the service as the Scottish Government brings forward its plans for a single fire and rescue service. It is really important that any changes are about delivering frontline services and this is not a cover for a cuts agenda. It is also important that there is still a strong local element to service delivery.

Tayside Police Joint Board

On Monday morning I attended a meeting of the Tayside Police Joint Board. One of the main issues discussed was the whole issue about the proposed single police service. I raised my concern under the police performance report about recent drug recoveries, worth over £125,000, at Dundee Railway Station, which is in my ward. I was reassured to hear that police dogs trained to sniff out drugs are regularly deployed at the station and that intelligence is used to target certain individuals who are suspected of trafficking drugs. I was also pleased to hear that there is a strong link with British Transport Police to target drug trafficking on the railways. I'm glad that the message can go out that the police are always vigilant about these issues.

A number of items on the agenda highlighted the threats to police staff jobs and the fact that police officers are sometimes being used to fulfil tasks which have previously been undertaken by police staff. I asked if this was the best use of the force's resources. The answer I received basically said that there were few options for the force. I am concerned that this undermines the morale of police staff and also means that police officers are not using their skills and powers in the best possible manner.