Police call centre faces probe over 3-day crash delay

Questions are being asked over the response time.
Questions are being asked over the response time.
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THE Bilston Glen police control room is at the centre of an urgent probe after it emerged reports of a car crash in which two people died were ignored for three days.

John Yuill and Lamara Bell were found inside the vehicle last Wednesday – even though the incident was reported the previous Sunday.

Mr Yuill, 28, is believed to have died on impact after the Renault Clio left the M9 and went down an embankment on the outskirts of Stirling.

Ms Bell, 25, died in hospital from broken bones and kidney damage after spending three days trapped next to her boyfriend’s body.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) is now examining how staff responded to initial information about the incident.

This is in addition to a review of call handling by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS).

News of the Bilston probe has sparked alarm in the Capital, with residents and political figures warning of a deterioration in service levels.

Mother-of-two Donna McCarron-Flynn, 45, from Saughton, said she tried to report two individuals who appeared to be tampering with the city’s tram line around two weeks ago but was treated in a “sarcastic, rude and impatient” manner after struggling to provide the name of a nearby street.

She said: “Because of [the call handler’s] attitude, I knew I was in a losing conversation and that I was not going to get anywhere.

“I was shocked and flabbergasted. It was not the case that the person did not want to go the extra mile – she didn’t want to do anything at all to help.”

Five control rooms are being closed as part of a reorganisation following the creation of the single police force.

Earlier this year, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged police to halt the programme amid reports that problems at Bilston had led to more than 1000 calls being lost in just one day.

Opposition leaders said the centre suffered from an emphasis on process and not service.

Councillor Cameron Rose, Conservative member for Southside-Newington, said: “Morale is now very low and there can be no doubt the creation of Police Scotland has not provided an overall better service – all of which is a great shame because there is much great work done by our police.”

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House, who has resisted calls for his resignation, said: “We’re in the middle of massive change in our call-handling. I remain confident and convinced the reform we’re pushing through is the right way to go and provides a more efficient and more professional service.”

A police spokeswoman said there were robust “processes in place” to address complaints over staff treatment of members of the public.