Councillors Scrutinise Local Policing Plan
Highland Councillors today (28 June 2018) warmly welcomed the Annual Performance report from Police Scotland against the Local Policing Plan. Local Authorities have a statutory duty to scrutinise police performance against the local policing plan. In Highland this takes place twice annually at Local Committee and also annually at a full meeting of the Highland Council.
The report highlighted extremely positive results in performance around reductions in assaults, act of violence, robbery and sexual violence. Councillors expressed appreciation for the commitment and dedication of local officers and for the changes introduced that are having a positive impact for communities.
Scrutiny Lead Cllr Matthew Reiss said “I am extremely pleased at the performance report that was in front of us today. Whilst there will always be areas that require further work, there were very encouraging trends reported. What I am most pleased about is that it focuses on local solutions to local policing matters. The Divisional Commander and his officers have responded to concerns raised with him and the results have been extremely effective. Although there may be turbulence at a national level, the service provided locally is outstanding and officers are getting on and delivering positive outcomes for our communities.”
Highland Councillors today (28 June 2018) received an update from Chief Inspector David Ross of the Contact, Command and Control Team from Police Scotland regarding the new arrangements in place for managing 999 and 101 calls across Highland. The previous Call and Area Control Centre in Inverness closed on 6 February 2018, with calls now managed via one of the national service centres in Bilston Glen or Govan and through an Area Control Room based in Dundee.
Councillors heard about the process a call now takes from receipt to dispatch of a police resource and were provided with details how the new approach is performing. Details were also provided about how assurance is being provided about the performance of the new system nationally through a national working group, through HMICS and the SPA assurance and scrutiny group.
During debate, Councillors noted that the new approach was still in its early stages but highlighted some concerns regarding the use of automated messages when lines were busy and regarding the loss of local knowledge.
Scrutiny Lead Cllr Matthew Reiss said “I welcome the paper here today and the description and explanation about the new Service Centre and Area Control room from Chief Inspector Ross. It’s important that as Members we understand how the new system works. We may have had concerns regarding the closure of the Inverness Control Room, however we have new systems in place and it’s important that these work as effectively as possible for Highland. I recognise that it is still early days for the new control room but I am comforted by the low number of issues that have been raised so far and the support for the new arrangements that local officers have. We look forward to receiving future reports to allow us to continue to monitor and scrutinise the new call centre arrangements.”