Cops 101 number “waste of time”

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Councillor Watson McAteer has held talks with one of the region’s top cops in a bid to end the ongoing problems with the 101 police number.

But Mr McAteer says there’s little hope for an immediate improvement with the 101 number and he’s concerned that police claims over reduced reported crime figures may be inaccurate.

The Hawick News was innundated with callers and visitors after last week’s story and all told a similar tale.

Many said they wouldn’t bother phoning the police again, with one visitor to the office branding the 101 numbers as a “complete and utter watste of time”, before adding: “and when I did get through after about 15 minutes, the police weren’t interested”.

Other callers to the office reported similar problems, with one westend male saying he tried the 101 number for 20 minutes in an attempt to report what he called “drug dealing” and claims that police told him “there’s not much we can do about that”.

He added: “I certainly won’t be phoning them again. No wonder they are able to say reported crime is falling when folk can’t report it.”

And another irate caller said that he’d be better off “phoning (children’s cartoon character) Fireman Sam, because he’d be easier to contact and would probably get the job done quicker.”

And this week Councillor McAteer told the Hawick News: “In the wake of the problems being experienced when trying to contact the police via the 101 non-emergency number, I contacted chief superintendent Gill Imrey the Borders police chief.

“There is acknowledgement that a problem exists, but I’m afraid the cash-strapped service is offering nothing radical to ease the pain and restore confidence.

“The reality is that until this mess is fixed, Hawick people will avoid using this number to call the police. The result is that we will continue to be told crime is reducing and our community is safe when the reality may well be something entirely different.’

Police Inspector Carol Wood said: “Efforts are ongoing to resolve what I understand is a softwear problem, more staff are being employed in the area control room at Bilston and this should assist with answering 101 calls.”