Comment: Wall of silence is unsettling

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THERE is already an investigation by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) into the police response to concerns for the welfare of Andrew Bow. Andrew, 36, lived on his own in this flat at East Crosscauseway.

His body was found on March 23, some days after concerns had been raised by a neighbour.

Now we find out that another neighbour, worried about a broken window in Andrew’s flat, had contacted the council earlier, and it is understood the council then contacted police.

It seems obvious that if that call had been logged properly, even if no action had been taken on it, then the second call should certainly have triggered alarm bells.

Some might think the police are not the only ones who should be facing questions, that the council should have followed up on its call, but it was surely reasonable to think the police would act.

We don’t know how Andrew died, or if earlier intervention would have helped him, but it must be the case that we would expect police to respond to such a call – especially in the light of the M9 tragedy, where police took three days to respond to reports of a car leaving the motorway. The bodies of John Yuill and Lamara Bell were eventually found inside.

There is a rightful public interest in knowing what happened to Mr Bow. What the authorities, either the force itself or Pirc, need to do now is tell the public what is happening. It is not good enough to hide behind the bureaucracy of the “ongoing investigation” and wait until they have got all the Is dotted and the Ts crossed before saying a word. There are people worried because even when alerted to potential difficulties the police seem unable to act.

The public are mature enough to understand not all is known about these cases, but what information is available should be shared. The wall of silence only serves to keep people unsettled.