Concern over 999 response times

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Police and ambulance bosses were forced to defend 999 response times this week after two worrying incidents in the last month.

The Hawick News can reveal that on the night a local man almost bled to death at the Tower Knowe there was only one ambulance based in the town and the vehicle which did respond was deployed from Galashiels.

And in an incident inside Burnfoot Co-op earlier in July, police took 54 minutes to respond to an aggressive male who was refused service and locked out of the Kenilworth Avenue store, after they were diverted to a “critical” incident 11 miles away in Selkirk.

And according to Councillor Watson McAteer it’s a worrying situation.

Mr McAteer, a former top policeman, said he intends to find out what plans are in place to ensure the town has adequate emergency cover.

“Over recent months I have been made aware of growing concerns at the emergency service deployment levels in Hawick and the Borders. Individual staff being tasked to do more with less are doing a very good job but their senior leaders must recognise that taking any risks with personal safety is not acceptable.”

And he added: “I would like to know how often emergency services have failed to achieve their target attendance time due to lack of local resources.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police were called at around 10.10pm on Tuesday, July 8, following a disturbance at the Co-op in Kenilworth Avenue when a man was refused alcohol, and was then locked out the shop. Police were then diverted to a critical incident in Selkirk, and arrived at the premises as soon as they were available. Staff at the Co-op had updated police to say they had locked the male out of the shop so they were not in any immediate danger.

“Whilst every effort is made to respond to every call without delay, a critical incident will always take precedence

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The target response for Category B calls is 19 minutes and the ambulance arrived in just under 25 minutes. There was high demand at this time and the Hawick crew were at another emergency, so the nearest available ambulance was sent from Galashiels.”