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News : Public Appeal to Justice Committee Over Police Call Centre Closures
Aberdeen and Inverness, Scotland, Feb 23, 2016 -- Public anger over planned emergency control room closures in Aberdeen and Inverness will be unleashed at Holyrood.
North and north-east residents have become increasingly concerned about plans to close the centres in the Granite City and Highland capital.
Police Scotland is intent on shutting them later this year – leaving 999 and 101 calls from the region to be answered in the central belt.
There are fears the closures will lead to a loss of local knowledge and put lives at risk.
A petition on the issue, started by campaigner Jody Curtis, will be heard at by the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee today in what could be one of the last opportunities for a review of the closures to be ordered.
Thousands of people have registered support for her campaign, which began when the plans to shut the control rooms were first announced in 2014.
In her submission to the parliament, Ms Curtis, a former control room worker, said: "Frontline staff and members of the public have raised serious concerns that the decommissioning of control rooms and service centres will have serious, adverse effects on the service delivery north of Dundee.
"The loss of local knowledge and understanding is critical in getting police or fire services exactly where they are needed as quickly as possible."
She will be joined by Laura Ross, who has launched a separate petition, calling for a rethink on the closure of Inverness’s Scottish Fire and Rescue control room.
In January, Police Scotland released an "indicative timeline" suggesting the Inverness call centre would be mothballed in August, with the Aberdeen one facing the same fate by October.
After the closures, 999 and 101 calls from north and north-east will be answered in one of three centres in the central belt, before being passed to Dundee, from where staff will co-ordinate with local officers on the ground.
Plans to shut the centres had been put on hold after the M9 tragedy, where John Yuill and Lamara Bell were left stranded in their wrecked car – despite the crash being reported three days earlier.
Mr Yuill was found dead in the car and Miss Bell died later.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Police Scotland
About Police Scotland:
The Police Service of Scotland is the primary police service of Scotland. It was formed in 2013 with the merger of all eight territorial police forces in Scotland and the specialist services of the Scottish Police Services Authority, including the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. Although not formally absorbing it, the merger also resulted in the winding down of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.
Published: Friday, February 26, 2016