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News : Police Answer Fewer Calls in Target Time
Dundee, Scotland, July 13, 2016 -- Members of the public are being forced to wait more than 40 seconds for police to answer non-emergency calls in almost a quarter of cases.
Police Scotland has revealed that its call centre in Dundee is the worst-performing in terms of responding to calls received through the 101 number of any control room in the country.
Just 78% of calls were answered within the 40-second target time in May — the most recent month of data available.
That’s a drop from close to 90% at the start of the year and well behind centres in Inverness, Bilston Glen, and Greater Glasgow — although Aberdeen’s control room was second-worst at 79%.
Meanwhile, the Dundee call centre answered 94% of its 999 calls within its 10-second target — also the lowest in Scotland but much closer to the best-performing centre in Greater Glasgow, where 97% of calls were answered on time.
The volume of calls being taken by Dundee’s control room has also dropped in the last year, from more than 20,000 in May last year, to just 12,000 this year.
The figures have sparked concern among community members.
Alice Bovill, a member of the Dundee Community Safety Partnership through her role as chairwoman of St Mary’s Community Safety Panel, insisted that the delay in any call "could be the difference between life and death".
She said: "To me, this is another area where there’s been too much centralisation and service is declining as a result. Although people say Glasgow is bad for crime, and it is, Dundee has its fair share as well. The fact the centre is the worst-performing in Scotland will be hard to take in for Dundonians."
Ms Bovill also raised concerns about the speed of 999 calls getting answered, adding: "Imagine you’re being assaulted in the street, or in the middle of a domestic situation and locked in a bedroom, trying to get through, and your call just isn’t getting answered quickly enough.
"Every second counts in those situations if someone’s trying to bang your door in. Their reaction time could be the difference between life and death if you’re in a really serious situation."
Police Scotland started publishing call centre data from April last year "for the purpose of transparency".
The force was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Police Scotland
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: Wednesday, July 13, 2016