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Davidson slams Sturgeon over 'unheeded' 999 police calls

The Scottish Conservatives leader raised concerns about a series of blunders.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson has criticised the First Minister over a series of mishandled 999 calls when officers were sent to the wrong town or not dispatched at all.

The matter was raised at First Minister's Questions on Thursday following the publication of a police watchdog report into the murder of a Dundee woman, Elizabeth Bowe.

It stated her death could have been prevented if officers had been dispatched following her emergency call.

Ms Bowe phoned the police saying her brother had stolen her phone and she was in a "domestic violence situation".

When the incident was passed to a police control room a staff member assessed that no crime had been committed and left her a voicemail saying police would not be attending.

A little over an hour later her brother, Charles Gordon, phoned police to inform them he had murdered his sister.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1401670-police-could-have-prevented-murder-of-woman-by-brother/ | default

Davidson told MSPs it was not "an isolated incident".

She said: "In one case a suicidal man was told to hang up. In another, two separate call handlers failed to record a report of a dead body in a house.

"In another, a couple rang 999 to report their front door was being kicked in, they didn't get any help because firstly the wrong address was written down and secondly police officers weren't even dispatched."

Davidson added later in the exchanges: "A woman threatened by her ex-partner didn't get a response from police because they were sent to the wrong address.

"A man was threatened with a knife where police were sent to the right flat in the right street but in the wrong town.

"A caller who rang as their mother and their niece were being assaulted and, again, police were sent to the wrong location."

https://stv.tv/news/north/1391184-man-dies-in-house-after-999-ambulance-call-blunder/ | default

Sturgeon said her "heartfelt thoughts and sympathies" are with the family of Ms Bowes.

She told MSPs: "I do think it is important also to put the situation into context. Ruth Davidson cites 200 incidents - as I say completely unacceptable - but Police Scotland handle 2.6 million calls every year.

"I am very clear that one of the incidents of the type Ruth Davidson has cited here today is one too many and lessons must be learned from all of these incidents.

"But I also think we need to recognise the number of calls that are handled and use that as context, and also to recognise the significant improvements that have been made."

The First Minister said her government has taken "significant action" to "strengthen the call handling processes" in recent times.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1393970-is-police-scotland-facing-a-call-handling-crisis/ | default

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