Police Scotland call centre probe findings announced today

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson (right) will make a statement on HMICS' interim report on Police Scotland's call handling to MSPs at Hollyrood later today. Sir Stephen House (left) quit his role as Chief Constable last week
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson (right) will make a statement on HMICS' interim report on Police Scotland's call handling to MSPs at Hollyrood later today. Sir Stephen House (left) quit his role as Chief Constable last week
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Under pressure Justice Secretary Michael Matheson will reveal details of a probe into how Police Scotland deals with call handling to MSPs this afternoon (Thursday).

Less than a week after Chief Constable Sir Stephen House announced he is quitting his £208,000-a-year job nearly 12 months before his contract is up following a series of apparent blunders, his main ally in the Scottish Government will present a report from HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland Derek Penman which is expected to be critical of the way the country’s top cop has managed things.

The Falkirk West MSP has been accused of “ineffective leadership” during a period of turmoil overseen by the Chief Constable which it is claimed has damaged the public’s faith in the police and justice system.

A request by The Falkirk Herald to see a copy of Mr Penman’s report ahead of this afternoon was refused.

Staff in the Justice Secretary’s office were also unable to provide an advance copy of his statement.

But it is thought the HMICS verdict will question how Sir Stephen’s officers at the Bilston Glen call centre dealt with a report a car had gone off the road on the M9 near Bannockburn in July that resulted in the deaths of Camelon couple Lamara Bell and John Yuill.

Meantime, it has also been confirmed the Scottish Government plans to make changes to the way Police Scotland operates after House quits at Christmas.

On Tuesday First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a review of the way Police Scotland is governed and held accountable just two years after it was created.

Despite that, she thanked House for his contribution.

She said: “I want to thank all those who work in Police Scotland for their hard work in delivering this reform.

“I recognise, however, that the process of reform has presented challenges and raised concerns. We must therefore continue to learn from experience and make improvements where necessary.”

The Chief Constable will now attend local “public scrutiny” sessions and a new chair of the Scottish Police Authority will also be appointed.

The First Minister, two days before Mr Matheson was to give his statement, also pledged to push ahead with recommendations on call handling.

A survey on morale in call centres is expected to be made public next week and expected to reveal just how unhappy employees are.