Police may be sued over M9 crash death

Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects at Lamara Bell's funeral in Camelon. Picture: Michael Gillen
Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects at Lamara Bell's funeral in Camelon. Picture: Michael Gillen
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The former partner of Lamara Bell has accused Police Scotland of a “reckless disregard for public safety” following the death of the mother of their five-year-old son, Kieran.

Anguished Lee Burt and the little boy’s grandfather James McMillan are considering suing Scotland’s force over the death.

In a statement released by lawyer Aamer Anwar following the final report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland into call handling, they claimed: “Sadly it took Lamara’s death to expose a systemic crisis at the heart of the call handling system.

“It is clear Police Scotland was not ready for changes in call handling but went ahead despite concerns for safety and introduced ‘unacceptably high levels of pressure’ on staff.

“Of course, human error is inevitable, but the fact Police Scotland does not even have ‘systematic processes for recording adverse incidents or near misses’ suggests a dangerously cavalier approach.”

The grieving family added: “At the heart of this tragedy is Kieran who never stops speaking about his mum.

“Some mornings he will wake up a happy boy because he dreamt of Lamara, but it is heartbreaking when a little boy tells you he is missing his mum and the sound of laughter changes to silence.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said the force’s sympathies remain with the families of Ms Bell and Mr Yuill but it would be inappropriate to comment on any potential legal actions.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: “We will implement the recommendations provided by HMICS as we go through the next steps of our improvement programme.”

Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “We have consistently stated the drive to save money was resulting in an erosion of service and creating intolerable pressures on those working within it.”