Police call centre is ‘failing the public’, meeting hears

Concerns regarding the police call centre were voiced at a community council meeting.Concerns regarding the police call centre were voiced at a community council meeting.
Concerns regarding the police call centre were voiced at a community council meeting.
Calls not being answered.

A police call centre handling reported incidents dialled in on the 101 non-emergency telephone number is ‘failing the public’, a Borders community councillor has warned.

Complaints regarding the service operated from Bilston Glen Police Control Room and Call Centre at Loanhead in Midlothian are increasing.

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There are reports of calls not being answered – and information not being passed on.

Those concerns were raised by Graham Hayward, the vice chairman of Jedburgh Community Council, at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s Cheviot Area Partnership this week.

Mr Hayward retold one case in which a member of the public was unable to access the service – and was then told to send an email instead.

He said: “We’re getting an increasing number of complaints about the 101 service. It takes a long time to be answered and some times it is never answered.

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“I know one person in Jedburgh recently who could not get through at all and then she was asked to email her problem and another one just put the phone down, so the 101 service is clearly going to become more important and it is clearly not very good at the moment.”

In response, Community Sergeant Alison Granger, who covers the south and east of the Borders, said: “I’ve heard this a few times and I can only apologise. It’s frustrating and it’s frustrating for us as well when we hear from members of the community that tried to get in touch with us about incidents and they have not got through to us.

“Sometimes they do get through but the calls don’t get dispatched and the information doesn’t get through, so I would suggest putting in complaints to try and improve that service up at Bilston.”

It recently emerged that the police control room at Bilston used a fake system to manipulate response target times for eight years.

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Thousands of calls to the control room were allocated to a fictitious call sign known as DUMY.

Internal systems would register that the calls had been passed to officers – but instead they were parked on a list.

This meant a police vehicle would not have been dispatched quickly to calls which had been judged as high priority.

The practice, according to official police documents, was designed to “provide artificial levels of incident management performance”.

The system is no longer in use.