HMICS Call Handling Assurance Review


HMICS has published the Terms of Reference for the Review the Cabinet Secretary for Justice has directed it to carry out of all call handling and processes within Police Scotland’s Contact, Command and Control (C3) centres.

This assurance review has been directed following the tragic incident involving the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell.

HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, Mr Derek Penman, said: “The aim of the review is to provide the Scottish Government and the Scottish Police Authority with an independent assessment of the operation, systems and procedures in place in call centres across Scotland.

“It will provide assurance on whether call handling is working effectively and efficiently within Police Scotland.

“It will examine the capacity and capability of the systems and the staff available in the control centres to manage, answer and prioritise calls. Staff training and the process to ensure that all calls are handled, recorded, dispatched and closed appropriately will also be reviewed.

“We will review the daily operational business of C3 and the wider change programme, including an assessment of the impact of restructuring to date, performance and the delivery of benefits. We will also comment, where appropriate, on the future plans for C3.”

This independent review, which is being prioritised within HMICS’ scrutiny programme, will be thorough, evidence-based and will include visits to all Police Scotland call centres. It will audit calls on their journey through the centres and will include engagement with police officers and police staff, unions and staff associations.

HMICS is keen to understand the quality of service being provided within police call centres and will set up a process to enable members of the public, police officers, police staff and stakeholders to offer relevant information or share their experience of C3.

Details of how this information can be provided to HMICS will be published in the near future.

Mr Penman added: “Information we receive this way will be treated in confidence and only for the purposes of this review. It will be used to identify potential strengths and weaknesses within C3 and inform specific areas for our scrutiny.”

An interim report will be given to the Cabinet Secretary by the end of August, with the full report completed by the end of October.

It is expected that recommendations to Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority will identify good practice and support improvement in the current and future service delivery. HMICS will closely monitor progress against any recommendations.

Should HMICS identify any areas for immediate improvement during the review phase these will be communicated directly to Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority for consideration and thereafter incorporated into the report.

This review is independent of the investigation being undertaken by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) into this incident. HMICS and PIRC have a statutory duty to co-operate and share information and have an established Memorandum of Understanding setting out a framework for collaboration.

This assurance review is being undertaken by HMICS in terms of Section 74 (1) of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and will be provided to Scottish Ministers and published in terms of Section 78 (1) and (2) of the Act.