Police officers sent to wrong addresses 62 times

16 April 2019, 07:39

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Police Scotland recorded almost 200 "notable incidents" in an 18-month period, including officers attending wrong addresses.

A notable incident is recorded when the response from the call centre or area control room is likely to have a "significant impact" on the reputation of the force or partner organisations.

Between August 2017 and December 2018 there were 191 notable incidents recorded.

Nine highlighted good practice while there were 182 regarding concerns, according to figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information.

Of these, 62 involved officers going to the wrong address and 81 led to a delay in police attendance.

Among the most serious matters were not responding to a warning about missing person who was later found dead, and a member of the public threatening self-harm being treated as a "false call".

Other issues recorded were an assault victim being told to go to an unmanned station to report the incident and officers failing to attend a domestic abuse call.

During the 18 months, Police Scotland dealt with 3,425,123 emergency and non-emergency calls, with noticeable incidents raised equating to fewer than 0.006% of calls.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: "In an organisation the size of Police Scotland, there will always be incidents involving human error.

"But this research sets out scores of cases which, frankly, should never have happened.

"Brave police officers and staff are doing a great job to the best of their abilities, but all too often their needs and welfare have gone ignored."

He called for the Scottish Government to provide "adequate support", adding: "It's this sort of environment in which mistakes occur."

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging said: "We are committed to openness and transparency and designed our notable incident process to allow us to pinpoint areas where we can improve the service we offer.

"This has been a positive piece of work which identifies where we can offer additional training, change our processes or share organisational learning with our staff.

"These reports are also used to identify examples of good work and share best practice among officers and staff working within C3 division and the rest of the organisation.

"Between August 2017 and December 2018 we received 3,425,123 calls to 101 and 999 and fewer than 0.006% resulted in a notable incident form being completed."

A spokesman for Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "The Tories have zero credibility on this issue, after voting against an increase in the police budget - and their role in failing to pay back millions of pounds in VAT, which could be invested in Police Scotland."

He said the Tories themselves admitted the cases highlighted amounted to a "tiny fraction" of those handled over the period in question.

The spokesman added: "Following the Government-initiated review of police call handling, these rare incidents are now being identified and acted upon."