Police call handling staff gear up for busy festive period

Justice Secretary visits Govan service centre.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson has met Police Scotland call-handling staff to hear how they have been preparing for their busiest week of the year.

Assistant Chief Constable (Service & Protection) John Hawkins and Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, Divisional Commander, Contact Command & Control (C3) Division welcomed the Justice Secretary to Govan Service Centre in Glasgow.

Last year Police Scotland received around 3,000,000 calls to 101 and around 500,000 emergency calls to 999 – creating a total of some 1.7 million incidents.

The three busiest days for Police Scotland’s call handling staff last year were:

  • December 23 2015– 8,450 calls from the public
  • December 31 2015 – 9,100 calls
  • January 1st 2016 – 9,400 calls

Adverse weather/storm days can also have a big impact on call handling.

The Justice Secretary said:

“While people across Scotland finish work and prepare for some time with loved ones, the festive period often brings more demands on police call handlers and I am grateful for their continued efforts to keep our communities safe.

“Dedicated and skilled officers and police staff are key to the success of call handling, as are the partnerships with other public services and agencies involved in supporting those who contact our emergency services, often at times of crisis.

“Communities across Scotland now have more consistent access to a range of national and regional resources through Police Scotland, uninhibited by previous force boundaries, while the Scottish Crime & Justice Survey shows public confidence in policing remains strong.

“As the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland continue working towards a more agile, modern and sustainable service, adapting to the changing nature of crime and of wider society, the ‘front line’ response of call-handling staff such as those here at Govan will continue to play a key role in the safety and well-being of our communities.”

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, Divisional Commander of Police Scotland’s Contact Command and Control Division said:

"The vast majority of people who contact us, use the 101 and 999 systems appropriately, however there are a very small number of people who do not and this abuse can cost lives. It diverts our call handlers from helping the public when they need us.  Our message is simple - if it's an emergency call 999, for non-emergency situations dial 101.”


The 101 number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be used from anywhere in Scotland to contact Police Scotland or any other force in the UK.

Members of the public can also use the Police Scotland website to report a range of issues, including domestic abuse, hate crime, child abuse, wildlife crime and lost property. Alternatively, they can approach a police officer on duty or attend at a police station front counter.


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