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Report highlights 'dismissive' response to 999 call

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A police controller failed to pass on "accurate and relevant information" to officers sent to investigate reports of a disturbance at a flat where a 51-year-old man was later found dead.

A report by police watchdog the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner said the controller at Bilston Glen had been dismissive of the man who called.

She felt the man, from Edinburgh, had previously abused the emergency system to report "trivial" matters.

He had called 999 on Saturday 24 March.

The caller reported hearing banging, shouting and raised voices coming from a nearby flat and said a woman had previously been attacked during a fight inside the property.

Street disturbance

When the controller sent officers to deal with the disturbance she wrongly told them the incident was in the street and possibly involved a woman being attacked.

When they arrived, they carried out a general search of the area and found no disturbance.

As a result, the officers did not go to either the flat or speak to the man who had made the 999 call.

They updated the control room no disturbance was taking place in the street.

The 51-year-old man's body was found in the flat the following day. A post-mortem examination found that he had died from a combination of drugs in his system.

The incident was referred to the Pirc by Police Scotland. The investigation examined how the force dealt with the 999 call and whether police actions may have contributed towards the man's death.

Relevant information

The Pirc report found had the controller taken the 999 call more seriously she should have sent the officers to the disturbance in the flat rather than the street.

This would have allowed officers to establish the wellbeing of the man who was later found dead.

A Pirc spokesman said: "It is recommended that the controller should be reminded to deal with all calls professionally and to accurately pass on relevant information to officers sent to incidents.

"Officers attending calls, where the name and details of the person making the report is available, should speak to the person, where appropriate, to clarify the information provided and ensure they carry out an effective investigation, unless the person states they do not wish to be contacted."

Ch Supt Roddy Newbigging, of Police Scotland, said the force accepted the findings.

"Police Scotland carried out our own internal review following the incident and necessary steps have already been taken to address issues raised in the commissioner's report," he said.

"We will also direct controllers to remind officers of their responsibility to contact named reporters where appropriate."

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