Our recent experiences of the Police Scotland 101 service give us cause for concern as to its effectiveness and value for money, and we know that the morale of front-line officers is low.
This is not just our view as friends have had similar experiences.
Two of our wheelie bins were stolen by some youngsters on 15 March. Not exactly the crime of the century but, if subsequent events are replicated elsewhere, the waste of public money must be significant.
We saw the bins being taken and where they went. Two of the requirements for calling 999 are “a crime is in progress” and “someone suspected of a crime is nearby” – so we called 999, only to be told this was not an emergency and we should call 101.
We did that and when we identified where these youngsters were and that they had set fire to the bins in a heavily wooded area, we called again and contacted the Fire Service, who turned out but police did not.
Later, the youngsters passed our house and settled in a nearby play area. We again called 101 to advise police where they were and, although they were in the area for 40 minutes, police did not appear.
Last Friday, the same youngsters stole more wheelie bins and took them past our house to the same wooded area as before. We called 101 and it would appear that no action was taken as the youngsters congregated outside our house at midnight some four hours later.
On Sunday they were back and in the same play area as before, we called 101 and, as far as we know, nothing was done.
There were three or four good opportunities to catch them. We have had visits from officers hours after the events, which really achieves nothing, and these budding future criminals are free to continue with their behaviour.
The wheelie bins have to be replaced, the fire service has turned out twice and police have visited us three times.
Goodness knows what the financial cost must be but we do know what the cost in low morale is and that this is not the level of service that front-line officers want to provide.
Cramond Brig Toll