Monday, 24 July 2017

East Crosscauseway death - catalogue of police call centre failures

Andrew Bow, who was 37, was found dead in his East Crosscauseway flat on 24th March last year.   Andrew, who suffered from Asperger's, and who had been taken to hospital by police in a confused state on 12th March is thought to have been alive until at least 15th March.

Between 13th and 24th March there were  three separate calls to police reporting circumstances which which needed investigation at his flat - such as broken windows.

The report by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), published last week, makes damning reading about police procedures and actions at the Bilston Area Control Room (ACR).  You can read about it on the PIRC website here.

Of particular concern is the account of systematic failures in the response processes - especially the time periods allowed for different types of calls.

"Police officers and civilian staff working in the ACR stated when interviewed that it was not uncommon for Grade 3 calls, which require police officers to be sent within 40 minutes, to remain un-actioned for days before being referred to the relevant police division for action. Some ACR Sergeants stated that a significant percentage of Grade 3 incidents are not dispatched within required timescales.
ACR staff stated to PIRC investigators that there were no resources to send to the calls at the time they were received. This was found to be inaccurate. PIRC enquiries and an internal Police Scotland review showed that Community Police officers were available to attend the calls. These officers were not sent by ACR staff and it appeared that there was a significant reluctance by ACR staff to send Community Officers to calls.. . . .
Apart from the failings in the circumstances of the unexplained and tragic death of Andrew, these are damning findings about the overall processes and proceedings. This is particularly so in the light of the previous failings and police claims of improvements in procedures at Bilston.

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