POLICE CALLS: JOHNSTONE COMMENTS ON MERGER PROBLEMS
Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, has expressed alarm at figures presented today (24 June) to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), showing dozens of calls to the Bilston Glen service centre are abandoned every week as people give up waiting for assistance.
Ms Johnstone previously warned that the control room would be adversely affected by mergers that now see it also handling calls from Fife, with this situation replicated nationally, as 11 control centres were reduced to four.
Police Scotland cite staff illness and problems with recruitment as the reason for emergency calls taking up to three minutes to answer, with non-emergency calls unanswered for as long as 11 minutes.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
"Scottish Greens campaigned strongly against the merger of Scotland's police forces and fire brigades, warning of the implications for local jobs and accountability. The call centre mergers were a terrible blow for the highly skilled staff, and I share the deep concern of many of my constituents who now worry about the ability of the police to provide the support that their communities require. It is very distressing for staff who know that they are unable to deal efficiently with the high volume of calls and suggests that increasing staff resources and capacity should be a priority."
"The trend of centralisation under the current Scottish Government is creating stresses and strains on our public services and employees. I welcome Police Scotland's pledge to tackle recruitment but I also want to hear from the Scottish Government what they are doing to ensure the safety and security of the public is given priority."
Update on Contact, Command and Control Division for today's SPA board meeting