Fury over report ‘disgrace’ on Moray emergency response times

Report on response times branded a 'disgrace'
Report on response times branded a ‘disgrace’

A COUNCILLOR HAS branded a report into the time people in Moray wait for a response after making a 999 emergency call as a “disgrace”.

Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross – a member of the Police and Fire Committee at the local authority – says a report into the increased response time demonstrates a “don’t care attitude” from some senior officers covering the North of Scotland.

The report was requested by Councillor Ross in May after he had discovered responses to grade one emergency calls in Moray were taking more than two minutes longer than they had done in the previous year.

A meeting of the Police and Fire and Rescue Services Committee will be held next week to consider the report, but ahead of that Councillor Ross said: “At the time I was very worried by the significant increase as these are the highest priority calls for the police.

“I wanted to know why there was an increase and what would be done to reduce the time people in Moray were waiting for the police to attend emergencies.

“Almost three months later we get a report of just four pages, of which just 12 paragraphs look at the issue and offer no solutions to deal with the problem.

“Not only do I think this is disrespectful to the committee who are charged with scrutinising local policing I think it’s an absolute disgrace that the public in Moray are being told there are no plans in place that would see them getting a quicker response time.”

Councillor Ross added that the report suggests that as it only compares two years, the figures “may be skewed” and it would be better to view the response times over five years.

He added: “This incredible statement is basically saying we have to put up with a deteriorating service for years before anything would be done – that is simply not acceptable.

“I was clear that I wanted the report to look at the number of officers available in Moray to deal with emergency calls and that is not even mentioned in the report. I have the utmost respect for our frontline officers who I know will try to get to every grade one call as quickly as possible, but if there are not enough of them response times will slip.

“I am certain our local officers do their very best but my impression from this paltry report is they do not have the support or backing of more senior officers.  I also think as a committee we are being given the minimum amount of information in the hope we will keep quiet. Well I for one will not accept that.”

The councillor added that he was also concerned that the committee had previously been informed that a Superintendent from Police Scotland’s Contact, Command and Control Division would be addressing the committee to answer their questions.

However, he had not been informed that would not happen and instead a Chief Inspector from the Divisional Contact Command and Control would attend.

Councillor Ross said: “On Thursday I will want far greater detail about this service, an aspect of Police Scotland that is much in the news just now.

“Needing the police to respond to a grade one emergency should be a rare occurrence for most people – but when it is required people in Moray must have the confidence that it will get there as quickly as possible.

“I am not convinced that is the case at present, nor am I sure there is a will within Police Scotland to address this issue in Moray.”