From mid March, all external non-emergency calls to the Police in the Western Isles will be managed and dispatched from the Force Control Room in Inverness.
Since 2006, all 999 calls in the Force area have been handled centrally through the control room.
The proposals will complement the implementation of a Scotland-wide single non-emergency number in March 2013. This is a single, easy to remember number, 101, for all non emergency calls to police, right across Scotland. The 101 non-emergency number for police is already in place in the rest of the UK.
The current call handling stations across the area will only receive external calls for service forwarded by the Control Room and will no longer be responsible for dispatching police resources, except in exceptional circumstances. The reduction in call management by front counter staff in these stations means increased capacity in other administrative functions and meeting local demands.
The changes will enable a consistency of service, with effective command and control and critical incident management force wide, in alignment with future national command and control proposals.
Central call handling will enable the public across the Force area to continue to get a quick and effective local response 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Requests for police service will be provided with an appropriate police response ranging from telephone advice to local officer deployment. The public will still be able to speak to their local officers directly and can attend at their local police station during reception opening hours if they wish.
Force Operations Centre Inspector, Dave Ross said: “From mid-November all Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey calls have been answered centrally by the control room and this has gone very smoothly. Prior to this, we were already handling all calls for Ross and Cromarty and Inverness. Where appropriate a police response is provided and if required, calls are transferred to staff at local stations.”
Over the period from January to March, calls into other Area Commands will be answered by the Force Control Room. The national101 number is due to come into effect by the end of March.