Police watchdogs concerns over two-minute fall in response time

POLICE CHIEFS ARE being quizzed over figures that show response times to 999 emergency calls in Moray are now taking two minutes longer than they were a year ago.

The alarming figures emerged in statistics provided to Moray Council’s Police and Fire committee – and have resulted in a request to Police Scotland to produce a report explaining why the service has deteriorated by such an extent.

Following agreement to a motion by Councillor Douglas Ross that the report be produced at the next committee meeting the Fochabers/Lhanbryde member said: “These figures show that people in Moray contacting the police with the most urgent 999 calls are waiting more than two minutes longer for them to arrive on scene.

“This increase relates to the 228 grade one calls over the last twelve months and it is of great concern that the time is increasing at all, let alone by over two minutes.

“While I accept the Moray is a large geographical area and has unique challenges for our emergency services, these have not changed in the last year but the time people are waiting for the police has increased significantly.

“I know our police officers do their very best to respond to these emergency calls as quickly as possible which is why I welcome the agreement to bring back a report on this matter as there has been a significant change in response time this year.

“I want to know if it’s because more officers have been moved into departments and taken off the street or if there are issues with the call handling process for example.

“When people in Moray make a 999 call which is rated as a grade one emergency they have the right to expect the police to arrive on scene as quickly as possible.

“They will be disappointed that the time to respond has increased by so much and will be looking for answers on how these times can be reduced to ensure people get the assistance they require from the police as quickly as possible.”