M-Way crash that killed Camelon couple puts police call centres in spotlight

The crash scene on the M9 that claimed the lives of John and Lamara
The crash scene on the M9 that claimed the lives of John and Lamara

Watchdogs have revealed details of the rules it will follow carrying out a probe into how calls to Police Scotland are handled.

The review being tackled by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland has been ordered by Justice Secretary, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, following the M9 crash that claimed the lives of Camelon couple John Yuill (28) and Lamara Bell (25) on July 5.

There has been shock and anger expressed after it was confirmed cops received a 101 call on that morning that a car had gone off the motorway near the Bannockburn Services but it was never followed up.

Instead, local officers issued a ‘missing persons’ alert two days later asking the public to help them trace John and Lamara, while he lay already dead in the wrecked car with his partner seriously injured but alive, beside him.

It was only three days later, after local farmer Robert Finlay contacted them to say there was a car crashed in his field, that they finally responded.

Lamara was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, but died on July 12 from her horrific injuries.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Derek Penman, HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, said: “The aim of the review is to provide the Scottish Government and the Scottish Police Authority with an independent assessment of the operation, systems and procedures in place in call centres across Scotland.

“It will provide assurance on whether call handling is working effectively and efficiently within Police Scotland.

“It will examine the capacity and capability of the systems and the staff available in the control centres to manage, answer and prioritise calls. Staff training and the process to ensure all calls are handled, recorded, dispatched and closed appropriately will also be reviewed.

“We will also review the daily operational business, the wider change programme, including an assessment of the impact of the restructuring date, and performance and delivery.”

Pressure is mounting on Chief Constable Sir Stephen House to resign over the shambles.

Scottish Labour have tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on him to quit.

Justice spokesman Hugh Henry said: “There have been a number of failures since the creation of Police Scotland and the public are rapidly losing confidence in it.”