A former police call worker is urging folk to get behind a campaign to save police, fire and non emergency service centres north of Dundee.
Jody Curtis, says it is imperative the public sign the petition, following the announcement the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is to close its control rooms in Inverness and Aberdeen.
Police control rooms in Aberdeen are also to close, and the Inverness control room will be replaced by a new hub – for the command and control of major incidents and national events across the country.
Ms Curtis is calling on the Scottish parliament for an inquiry into the closures and nearly 1,200 signatures have been collected so far.
In particular, she said concerns have been raised over public safety, the loss of public knowledge and officers being off the street. Officers will also be overwhelmed in managing the increased workload, she said.
Ms Curtis used to work on the 101 non emergency service in Aberdeen and claims local knowledge is vital to keeping the public safe and getting police officers or fire crews where they need to be as quickly as possible.
Local dialect and pronunciation of locations could also cause problems, Ms Curtis said, and in her opinion the Scottish Police Authority are putting cost-cutting before public safety.
“It’s [the petition] not just for people in Aberdeen it’s for everybody north of Dundee,” she said. “We need thousands and thousands of signatures for this to be credible or for it to be taken seriously.”
The online petition is available at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/emergencycallcentres.
Those who do not have access to a computer can still send in signatures as part of the petition – stating their name and the area they live. The online petition closes on 22nd March.
Meanwhile Shetland MSP Tavish Scott is demanding a meeting with fire board chiefs over the proposal to close the fire control room in Inverness.
He and Shetland Islands Council convenor Malcolm Bell have argued for the Inverness control room needs to be kept.
Mr Scott and the SIC are also warning that the loss of an invaluable wealth of experience and local knowledge will put lives at risk.
Mr Scott said: “I oppose this latest SNP centralisation. The Highlands and Islands and the north of the country are now to be covered entirely by the central belt.
“It is exactly what I warned would happen with a single service based on the warnings of numerous fire fighters who told me that this was bound to be the case.
“Thus far all the arguments used to justify the closures have lacked conviction and bear the hallmarks of being rushed and ill-considered.
“I look forward to the opportunity to meet fire board chiefs to understand how these bad and wrong closure plans will mean better emergency service cover in Shetland and across the entire north of Scotland.
“They must accept that the risk of a fire engine being sent to the wrong place rises with the closure of the Inverness control room.
“The logic of the Scottish government’s position is that Scotland will end up with one control room for all the blue light emergency services.”
“It is time for Shetland to look afresh at joining up these essential services in the islands – that would be a better than the remorseless removal of powers that we get from the Scottish government.”