Council Leader, Ronnie Nicholson, is encouraging members of the public to take part in the review of Police call handling across Scotland.

The review is being conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS). The review will provide an independent assessment of how the recently established Police Scotland’s contact and control centres are working.

The call centre in Dumfries was the first victim of the control room closure programme in May 2014. This resulted in the loss of 34 civilian staff jobs. Since then Stirling, Glenrothes and Pitt Street in Glasgow have also fell victim to closures. At the time, the Council Leader spoke out against the closure and Councillors agreed to place on record the Council’s unanimous opposition to the closure of Dumfries Police Control Room and the way in which the decision was handled.

Recently, Police Scotland has confirmed they are going ahead with plans to close both Aberdeen and Inverness control rooms in their bid to centralise Police Scotland..

It has been brought to the Leader’s attention the increasing number of complaints locally about slow response times for emergencies and non-emergencies. As such, he is encouraging the public to have their say. As part of the review, the HMICS want to hear the views of the public. The Council Leader is urging the public to make their views on the police 101 or 999 service known – about what is working well when they call those numbers and what could be improved. Reports from the centralised call centre state 1,000 calls have been lost in one day and non-emergency calls took as long as 40 minutes to answer – both are completely unacceptable.

Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said “Protecting our most vulnerable people is a priority of this Council. In the unfortunate case that someone needs to phone 101 or 999, they need assurance that when they call it is easy to get through to report the situation and speak to someone. Such circumstances can be traumatic for people, which is why we need quick response times. I am not confident the new centralised control rooms are providing this. Members of the public have told me and other councillors about the difficulty they have had trying to get through when they’ve phoned 101. As well as long waiting times I’ve had complaints that people have found themselves to a call centre that has no knowledge of our area. I would therefore encourage everyone to have their say as part of this review into the centralised control rooms.”

If you would like to take part in the questionnaire or for more information visit www.hmics.org/publications/questionnaire-hmics-review-call-handling-scotland
Members of the public wanting to have their say can submit your views and comments until midnight on Sunday 23rd August. All responses are completely confidential. Due to the anonymity provided by the survey, HMICS will not be able to provide individual feedback or investigate any complaints.

HMICS is undertaking a review of police call handling across Scotland and is conducting an online questionnaire (link is external) to allow members of the public, police officers and police staff, elected representatives and other interested parties to inform our review.

This follows the tragic incident involving the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell.