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10,000 sign up in battle to save 999 centres

MAJOR campaigns are under way to save 999 control rooms expected to be approved for closure today.

Thousands of people have signed up for internet groups trying to block proposals by Police Scotland to shut 999 centres.

Scotland has 10 control rooms and nine contact centres spread over 11 sites. If approved today, this will be cut to five: Govan, Glasgow; Bilston Glen, Midlothian; Dundee; Motherwell and a back-up facility in Inverness.

Feelings are running particularly strong in Dumfries, whose control room will close as soon as April if the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) backs the plans this afternoon.

All the staff of the control room and contact centre in the town have signed a letter to the SPA citing "considerable anger and resentment at this proposal from Police Scotland". They said the proposal was "very grim for all of the 34 civilian staff and their families".

The letter says: "But this itself is nothing compared to the potential consequences for local policing in Dumfries and Galloway.

"As a result of this decision, public confidence in Police Scotland within this area is rapidly diminishing.

"People cannot quite believe that Police Scotland, having already taken away their ability to call at a police station front desk in some areas, now intend to remove their ability to speak to an operator with first-hand knowledge of their area in an emergency or indeed non-emergency situation. Lack of local knowledge could cost someone their life."

Some 8000 people have signed up on social media website Facebook to support the Dumfries workers.

More than 2000 have joined a similar campaign to save both 999 and non-emergency contact centres in Aberdeen, which is scheduled to see its operations transferred outside the North-east. Aberdeen has also lost its ambulance control room.

In a separate development, the future of Aberdeen's fire control room is also in doubt as the board of the new national fire and rescue board meets today. Council leader Barney Crockett has complained about both moves.

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