Dumfriesshire MSP and Shadow Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Elaine Murray, and Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Council Police, Fire and Rescue Sub Committee, Councillor John Syme fear “the worst is yet to come”, after an Interim Report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) on Call Handling has begun to unravel the scale of the problems facing Police Call Handling in Scotland.
The interim report by HMICS was published on Thursday 3rd September, and called for the planned closures of the Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness Police Control Rooms to be suspended. The report also highlighted the severe staff shortages in call centres and the mounting pressures on call handlers.
Dumfries Police Control Room at Cornwall Mount was closed last year, with calls now being taken at centralised Control Rooms in Glasgow and Motherwell.
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“There are no other words for it – this interim report is utterly damning. The review has revealed what we have been saying to the Scottish Government for a long time; that there have been serious flaws in centralising call handling and that dedicated staff are under far too much pressure. It is those staff and people right across the country who are being let down. If a report is what’s needed to initiate a response from this Government then so be it, but the truth is that they should have acted on serious concerns for call handling long before now.”
Councillor John Syme added:
“The real worry is that this is just the interim report. It may be that the worst is yet to come when the full report is published, and we have a clearer picture of the scale of the problems in Police Call Handling. There needs to be a serious and rapid response from the Scottish Government to tackle the staffing shortages and pressures, and restore local people’s faith in Police Scotland.”