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News : Police Scotland Control Room Staffing ‘Stabilised'
Midlothian, Scotland, Dec 3, 2015 -- Police Scotland has "stabilised" control room staffing with a 7.5% increase in numbers, inspectors say.
However, this has seen the force's projected savings cut to £6.8m, from an original target of £18m.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Scotland Derek Penman told Holyrood's justice sub-committee staffing had "stabilised" in October at 1,563.
He called for assurances that staffing would not slip back when regional call centres are merged.
Inspectors found call centres were left understaffed in the drive to make savings through staff redundancies. In January, total staff numbers in the contact, command and control centres stood at 1,450.
Staffing has increased again, however, partly in response to the fatal crash on the M9 where a couple lay undiscovered for three days, despite a call to police.
That incident drew a critical report from inspectors, who said there was insufficient staffing at Bilston Glen, where the call was taken.
Mr Penman said there were insufficient staff available at key moments at the Bilston Glen control room
MSPs were told that staff numbers have increased month by month since January, reaching 1,563 in October.
Mr Penman said: "Our view is that the staffing has stabilised for the current volume they have.
"What we need to have is an assurance that when call volumes come in from the north that they will have sufficient capacity to manage that."
Mr Penman again said there were "insufficient staff available" at "critical stages" in the police centralisation project, such as when the Stirling call centre closed and moved to Bilston Glen.
Control rooms in Inverness, Aberdeen and Dundee are set to be merged, although the move was delayed following the M9 crash incident.
It was announced on Wednesday that former deputy director of the National Crime Agency, Phil Gormley, has been appointed to lead Police Scotland.
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: Monday, December 7, 2015