Police call centre comes under scrutiny in national investigation

Police Scotland – hopes raised that closure of call centre may be cancelled

PLANS TO CLOSE the police call centre covering Aberdeenshire and Moray could be reversed as it comes under scrutiny by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICS).

HMICS has begun an investigation this week ordered by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson into the circumstances surrounding why a couple whose car went off the M9 motorway were not discovered for three days after a report had been made to police.

The police call centre in Aberdeen is due to close in September with the centre in Inverness suffering the same fate in December.

Now pressure is building to halt the move with HMICS promising to visit all Police Scotland call centres during their investigations into the M9 tragedy.

John Yuill is believed to have died immediately when his car left the M9 and his partner Lamara Bell was seriously injured. A member of the public reported seeing the vehicle to police but it was three days later and following a second sighting report before police attended the incident and found the vehicle. Tragically, Lamara Bell died in hospital days later.

The HMICS investigation is expected to produce an interim report next month with the full report following in October.

It was revealed this week that their remit would include the visits to all existing call centres to examine the “capacity and capability of the systems and the staff available in the control centres to manage, answer and prioritise calls”.

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald welcomed the news that the report would examine the closure of the Aberdeen call centre, saying: “The news that HMICS is to examine the proposed closure of Aberdeen police control room and call centre as part of this review is welcome news for the north-east and for those who have raised concerns about these plans.

“SNP ministers must now ensure that no further steps are taken that could lead to the closure of the Aberdeen facilities before the final HMICS report is published in October, as any such steps would undermine the HMICS inquiry and its conclusions.”