HMICS Independent Assurance Review Police Scotland - Call Handling Final Report

Tuesday, 10 November, 2015

This assurance review has been directed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice following the tragic incident involving the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell.

It sits alongside the independent investigation directed by the Lord Advocate and being conducted by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) into that specific incident. It should be noted that HMICS has not investigated the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident and does not offer any specific comment on why a telephone call made to Police Scotland on Sunday 5 July 2015, which reported their car was off the road, was not followed up.

These are matters exclusively within the scope of the PIRC inquiry and will be covered in detail within her final report to the Lord Advocate.

What our review provides is a wider independent assurance of the operation, systems and processes in place within police Contact, Command and Control (C3) centres across Scotland.

The background to this review, the objectives and methodology are outlined within the Terms of Reference, which were published on 22 July 2015. An Interim Report, published in September, provided an update on the progress of the review, including a summary of our activities, emerging findings and key areas of interest where further assurance would be sought. At that time, we made one interim recommendation to Police Scotland on the future direction of police Contact, Command and Control centres across Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary for Justice clearly set out expectations of the areas to be reviewed by HMICS, namely:

■ the capacity of the systems and the human resource available within the control centres to manage, receive, answer and prioritise calls;

■ the capability of the systems and the suitability of the training provided to those who manage, receive, answer and prioritise calls; and

■ the process within the control room to ensure that all calls are handled and dispatched appropriately.

We sought to meet these expectations by objectively assessing the state, efficiency and effectiveness of the processes for call handling within Police Scotland. Our terms of reference also set out that we will examine the underpinning elements of leadership and governance, planning and process, resourcing, training and performance in order to assess daily business, the impact of restructuring to date and the wider change programme.

This is our final report which details our methodology and approach, explains the call handling process and outlines our key findings, conclusions and recommendations for improvement.

As part of the review, HMICS launched its first online questionnaire and its Topline Results can be found below

HMICS acknowledges that this review is being undertaken whilst Police Scotland continues to pursue reform on a national level. The complexity and challenge of such change is recognised.

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