News : Dundee’s 999 Control Centre Under Fire Over Delays in Answering Emergency Calls
Dundee, Scotland, Nov 11, 2015 -- Dundee’s police call centre has the lowest number of 999 calls answered within 10 seconds in Scotland.
Figures released by Police Scotland show that in September, 91% of 999 calls at the centre were responded to within target time, while just 77% of 101 queries were answered within 40 seconds.
That is lower than the other control rooms in Aberdeen, Inverness, Bilston Glen and Glasgow.
And Dundee — which predominantly takes calls from the Tayside region — has been worse than the other locations for the last seven months running in its ability to answer 101 calls within 40 seconds.
Community leaders told the Tele the difference in time responding to emergency calls could be "a matter of life or death".
Glasgow had a 96% success rate for answering 999 calls within 10 seconds and 96% of 101 queries were answered within 40 seconds.
In April, Police Scotland announced that it was working through cuts over the following 12 months — the impact of which Ron Neave, chairman of Fintry Community Council, said was now being felt in Dundee.
Mr Neave said: "This is not good at all because one of these calls could be a matter of life or death. This issue did actually come up at the community council about how long it takes to answer 101 and if they even answer at all.
"But this all goes back to the last round of cuts and things will get even worse with the next round of cuts that are due."
Drew Livingstone, Unison’s police staff Scotland services and conditions officer in Dundee, said there was "only so much" staff could do due to a lack of call handlers.
He said: "I am aware of these figures. The problem with the north is the number of people we have.
"The force started losing staff before Police Scotland even started because the programme to leave was already in place. There’s only so much you can do though when you’re running so short of staff.
"They have been making police staff redundant and they’re instead increasing the number of police officers in the control room — taking them off the streets."
Despite the lack of numbers said to be available to take calls in Dundee, Mr Livingstone insisted that the police staff still provided a good service to the public.
He said: "What’s quite interesting is that despite these figures there is still a good quality of service because when you look at the number of complaints received for the division, they are lower than other areas."
Chief Superintendent Alan Speirs, who has lead responsibility for Contact, Command and Control within Police Scotland, said: "We are in the midst of a significant change and improvement programme as we bring together eight legacy systems under a single efficient and effective command and control system. Our Service Advisers in
Dundee are incredibly committed and work very hard to provide the best possible service to the public.
"Our aim is to achieve 90% of 999 calls within 10 seconds and 90% of 101 calls within 40 seconds. We acknowledge that standards have fallen below that grade for 101 local calls but wish to reassure everyone that we are working hard to improve this service.
"A recent recruitment campaign generated over 90 applicants for new roles within Dundee, and we are working to enhance our resource levels at our service centre there.
"Temporary measures are already in place where colleagues working in Glasgow can support Dundee call handling and further work is ongoing to deliver a new command and control system in Dundee which is currently being used in both the east and west."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Police Scotland:
The Police Service of Scotland is the primary police service of Scotland. It was formed in 2013 with the merger of all eight territorial police forces in Scotland and the specialist services of the Scottish Police Services Authority, including the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. Although not formally absorbing it, the merger also resulted in the winding down of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.
Published: Friday, November 13, 2015
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