Concerns grow over 101 debacle

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Townsfolk have no confidence when it comes to reporting crime to Police Scotland.

And one Hawick councillor says the new 101 number is just not working as it should do, and that in some cases people are walking to Wilton Hill rather than phoning the call centre at Edinburgh’s Bilston Glen.

The claim follows another meeting which has taken place in Burnfoot in response to a rise in antisocial behaviour calls.

At the monthly meeting of the estate’s Community Council on Tuesday, Hawick and Denholm councillor Watson McAteer told Police Inspector Carol Wood that: “The public have zero confidence in their ability to report crime. That is the message which is coming through loud and clear from whoever I speak to.”

He added: “It is very obvious that the local community have no confidence in the 101 number.

“It takes far too long to be answered and on many occasions the operator has great difficulty in understanding the geography and importance or significance of the call.

“You can imagine that individual operators would have difficulty in making the link when different callers from the same area report a similar problem but while one incident may not seem a high priority when a number of similar events take place the priority rating needs to change.”

Mr McAteer’s concerns are shared by fellow ward councillor, Stuart Marshall, who said: “We recently had a meeting between landlords and around 15 members of the public.

“Residents are voicing loud concerns that the 101 number is not working properly and that this is actually putting people off calling the police.

“This is of great concern and I will be taking this up at a high level.”

Recently, Hawick Community Council’s Jim Little branded the 101 service “disastrous and not fot for purpose” after he was left waiting 15 minutes for Police Scotland to answer.

Mr Little said that it took 15 minutes for anyone to answer his call and that when he asked to be transferred to the complaints department at Police Scotland that number was out of order.

“It’s disastrous. People will stop reporting crime. I spoke to a local officer who told me that I would have more chance of success if I walked to Wilton Hill to report a crime.”

Police Inspector Carol Wood said she was aware of concerns over the 101 number but said that calls are dealt with and are followed up.

Have you had a problem reporting a crime on the 101 number? If so call Colin Purvis on 379650.