Report criticises Police Scotland over safety

The man landed on the roof of this Renault Laguna parked outside the high rise. Picture: Joey Kelly
The man landed on the roof of this Renault Laguna parked outside the high rise. Picture: Joey Kelly
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A VULNERABLE man who fell seven floors from a block of flats on to a parked car 90 minutes after police took him home was not left in a place of safety, a report has found.

The 39-year-old, who had a history of mental health problems, survived but suffered serious injuries still requiring 

The Police and Investigations Review Commission (Pirc) has criticised officers’ handling of the incident and recommended a number of reviews.

Professor John McNeill, commissioner, said: “Leaving a person who presented with mental health issues alone at their home, in the absence of an appropriate adult to care for their welfare, does not constitute leaving them in a place of safety.”

The man left his home in Edinburgh suddenly on 12 June. A friend who had been with him called police to raise concerns about his deteriorating mental health. However, this was flagged up as a “concern for a person” and not as a missing person, meaning it did not require an operational response.

Later that evening, residents in Torphin Bank, in Edinburgh, saw the man behaving strangely and called police. The officers who attended were not given information about the previous report or his mental health history. They believed the man was lost and drove him home.

No background checks were carried out with control room staff, which might have provided insight into the man’s mental health history, Pirc said.

Just before midnight the man fell from a balcony in Persevere Court, Leith. He struck a silver Renault Laguna, understood to belong to an ambulance worker, parked outside the 20-storey high rise.

The commissioner has made three recommendations for Police Scotland’s Edinburgh division. One is that they review the way the control room handles missing person inquiries.

The second is that they review the way the control room relays information to police officers. Finally, Pirc said Police Scotland should review the actions of some of its officers and staff.

Prof McNeill said: “It is essential that information held in police systems is accurately recorded and provided to front-line officers when attending calls.

“This is particularly relevant in the response to incident reports concerning vulnerable persons.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police Scotland thanks the Pirc for their report. We will study all the evidence provided by the Pirc and note that a number of recommendations, which includes examining the actions of officers and staff, are specified.

“The force aims to continually improve and will rigorously review the points specified by the Pirc to ensure we learn from this investigation.”