Matheson responds to call handling report

Justice Minister Michael Matheson addressed MSPs
Justice Minister Michael Matheson addressed MSPs

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has given MSPs an update following the release of the latest report into police call handling by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland.

The inquiry was ordered after the tragic deaths of Falkirk couple John Yuill and Lamara Bell on the M9 near Bannockburn Services in July.

The review completed by HM Inspector of Constabulary Derek Penman’s team contains 30 recommendations for improvement.

Mr Matheson told the Scottish Parliament: “This comprehensive piece of work has involved more engagement than any previous HMICS review.

“His report provides confidence staffing levels are stabilised in the east and west and calls are being answered and actioned. New training is in place for all new staff and recruitment to support the next stages of restructure in the north are actively underway.

“In welcoming the assurances provided by HMICS in this report around the quality of customer service, call handling and grading I want to make sure these standards are maintained and improvements being implemented by Police Scotland deliver the required improvements.

“With immediate effect I have asked HMICS to undertake a further programme of unannounced visits to call centres and will be ongoing until the restructure is complete. I have asked the outcome of these visits is reported back to me, Police Scotland and Scottish Police Authority and clearly identify any actions that need to be addressed.

“The report includes some hard messages for Police Scotland and I have been assured that all 30 recommendations will be accepted and actioned by them.

“This government is committed to ensuring the public can have confidence in police contact, command and control functions.”

Mr Matheson also once again offered his condolences to the families of John Yuill and Lamara Bell.