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News : More than 600 People Sign Petition to Keep Police Call Centres Open
Aberdeen and Inverness, Scotland, Dec 4, 2015 -- More than 600 north and north-east residents have signed the Press and Journal to save police call centres in Aberdeen and Inverness.
Concerned people across the region have joined politicians, community leaders and rescue workers in backing the campaign.
Party leaders at Holyrood – including Labour chief Kezia Dugdale – are among those who have signed the petition.
The campaign to keep the call centres open has gathered strength following a damning report following the M9 crash scandal has cast fresh doubt over the future of the Aberdeen and Inverness control rooms.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) has recommended keeping the centres open until there is "independent assurance" over call handling procedures.
But Justice Secretary Michael Matheson rejected the suggestion that any such review could actually reverse the slated closure, raising fears that it is merely a "box ticking exercise".
One of those who backed the petition, Susan Hay, wrote: "It is so important that there is local knowledge because when someone is calling 999 for help they are not always going to be familiar with a road number but are more likely to be able to describe what is around about them."
Ann Mackay added: "Ringing 999 is a matter of life or death not a query about a utility bill.
"Local knowledge is imperative especially in the north where there are similar names all over the region."
Politicians from across the political spectrum, including local MSPs Alex Johnstone, Lewis Macdonald and John Finnie have all backed the petition.
Highland Council leader Margaret Davidson and Aberdeen City Council finance convener Willie Young have also lent their support to the campaign, as has Willie Anderson, leader of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, December 7, 2015