Scotland

Scots police forces criticised for 999 response times

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Image caption In one case, police in Edinburgh failed to respond to 10 emergency calls about one incident

Two Scottish police forces have been criticised over their response to some 999 calls.

The Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland said both Lothian and Borders and Strathclyde forces had questions to answer over the issue.

In one instance, Lothian and Borders Police failed to respond to 10 emergency calls from takeaway staff being attacked by 20 armed youths.

Professor John McNeill said the force needed to explain what had gone wrong.

He has also recommended that Strathclyde Police apologise to a family for the length of time it took to respond to their calls following a disturbance, during which a man's face was slashed with a knife.

Prof McNeill's complaint handling reviews on several cases are to be published on Monday.

Armed gang

They detail the case of the owner of a takeaway restaurant owner whose premises in Edinburgh came under attack in May 2009.

The man, his wife and two members of staff locked themselves inside while the property was attacked by a gang of 20 youths armed with bottles, bats and clubs.

Records show they made 10 emergency calls to police over a 90-minute period, however no officers attended the scene.

The group eventually made their way to safety after the crowd dispersed.

A police spokesman said: "Following the incident to which this complaint refers, a detailed inquiry was carried out in consultation with the individuals involved.

"They subsequently indicated they considered the matter closed and were satisfied with the action taken by the force.

"At that time, the force reviewed its call-handling procedures and five members of staff were given corrective advice."

The force said it would be writing to the complainant.

Doorway barricaded

In another review, Prof McNeill recommended that Strathclyde Police apologise for delays in attending a disturbance in which a family barricaded themselves in a house after coming under attack in July 2009.

It is alleged the attacker had earlier slashed one member with a knife, and police had attended.

Police records showed the family later made a further three 999 calls as the alleged attacker tried to force his way back into the house armed with knives and hammers.

The family used furniture to barricade the doorway.

The review found Strathclyde Police's contact centre wrongly classified the emergency call, and that it police took 17 minutes to attend.

The commissioner's report called on the force to apologise and provide information on what went wrong.

Ch Supt Val McIntyre, from the force's professional standards department, said: "Strathclyde Police will examine the recommendations issued by the commissioner to establish whether there are any organisational learning points relating to the quality of service provided to the applicant and more widely to the many communities that we serve.

"A further response will be provided to the applicant on completion of inquiries conducted into this matter."

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