The review of police call handling by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) must give equal consideration to rural areas such as Dumfries & Galloway. That’s the message from 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.
Dumfries & Galloway Council’s response to the review of Police Call Handling has highlighted the concerns of the level of local knowledge call handlers in the centralised call centre have compared with the previous knowledge of local call handlers in the Dumfries Police Control Room. The response also questioned why Police Scotland are failing to respond to some levels of reported crime, and instead call handlers are providing incident numbers.
Councillor John Syme said:
“It’s clear to me that the lack of local knowledge of call handlers in the central belt control room is causing a lot of people concern in this area. It’s not appropriate to expect people using the 101 or 999 emergency service to automatically know the road number an incident has taken place on, and certainly wasn’t something that was needed when reporting a crime through the former Dumfries Police Control Room. The classification and perception of importance of crimes is another concern in our region, with local people now being left wondering if Police Scotland are going to follow up an incident report at all.”
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray added:
“With the deadline for submission to the online survey on police call handling now past, HMICS now have the responsibility of clearly highlighting in their report any problems which have been identified by people across the country. However it’s especially important for HMICS to identify and differentiate problems which are occurring in individual parts of Scotland, such as the particular concerns being raised by local people in Dumfries & Galloway. Only then will we have the information needed to begin the journey to restore public faith in Police Scotland.”