SPA to discuss challenges after ‘difficult summer’

A police car at the scene of the M9 crash that sparked the 'difficult summer' for Police Scotland. Picture: Michael Gillen

A police car at the scene of the M9 crash that sparked the 'difficult summer' for Police Scotland. Picture: Michael Gillen

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THE Scottish Police Authority is to meet to discuss challenges facing officers after what it admits has been a “difficult summer”.

Police Scotland was criticised after the deaths of John Yuill and his partner Lamara Bell in a road crash in July that went undiscovered for three days after being reported.

It led to questions over the police call handling process and absence rates - both on the agenda at the SPA meeting in Stirling.

It is expected to be the last full SPA board meeting chaired by Vic Emery, who will step down next month after three years.

Mr Emery said ahead of the gathering: “We all acknowledge that it has been a difficult summer for policing with a number of issues and incidents drawing considerable scrutiny, comment and opinion.

“This week’s public meeting provides a timely opportunity to assess how Scotland’s policing arrangements are progressing against the aims and objectives of reform, and how the service is performing for the public and for the people who work within it.

“Those issues and incidents I refer to are the subject of ongoing and independent investigations and reviews and rightly will not be the subject of detailed discussion by the SPA and Police Scotland before they have concluded.

“However, the broader issues that have been the subject of comment will be covered on our agenda - call handling, staff absence, contact with the police, and budget pressures among others.

“The core of the meeting will be devoted to how policing has performed over the first three months of this year, and an assessment of how policing is performing in the round against its longer-term strategic objectives.”

Ms Bell, 25 lay injured for around 72 hours following an accident on the M9 in Stirlingshire on July 5. She later died in hospital.

Her partner Mr Yuill, 28, was killed in the crash which was reported by a member of the public on the day it happened but the details were not entered into the police system.

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson ordered a review of all police call handling and the case is also the subject of an independent investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

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