A RETIRED police superintendent continues to insist that a Borders town is being let down by the non-emergency 101 number.

Les Turnbull, who is now the chairman of Peebles Community Council, wrote to Chief Inspector Stuart Reid in August with concerns about anti-social behaviour and the non-emergency call system.

At this month’s community council meeting, Mr Turnbull revealed he still has “little faith” in the 101 number.

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Mr Turnbull said: “I now have a response from the Area Commander in relation to 101 calls.

“I had provided Chief Inspector Reid with 12 telephone numbers of people who had problems with the 101 system – they were either dissatisfied that it had taken so long to get a response, or with the actual response they got.”

In his reply, Inspector Reid stated that one of the calls had been answered in 39 seconds, three of them had been answered between 1 and 3 minutes, eight calls took longer than 3 minutes, and one took 33 minutes.

Mr Turnbull said: “It’s quite clear that the comments we have been making with regard to the 101 system and its apparent deficiencies are in fact correct.

“It leaves us in a position where I personally have little faith in the 101 system.

“This is not attacking the police officers that come out to deal with our queries and complaints, this is about the 101 system and the call handling by Police Scotland.

“I can only advise people that in future if they come across incidents or they see things that they judge as requiring an immediate police response, they use the 999 system and that is probably the best way to actually achieve a quick response.”

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Echoing this, community councillor Peter Maudsley, who met with a police sergeant last month regarding policing and the 101 system, said: “I raised an item where I’d made a 101 call, which to be fair, had been handled extremely well. However, Sergeant Rourke actually said that on that particular occasion I should’ve used 999.

“I think if we look at his comments together with what we’ve already seen, some of my report did detail publicly available information issued by 101 that showed there are some serious delayed incidents.

“I think you’re right, anything where there could be a reasonably quick intervention warrants a 999.”

Police Scotland’s website states that the 999 number should be called in an emergency.

The website says an emergency is when:

  • Someone’s life is at risk
  • Someone is injured
  • There is a fire
  • Offenders are nearby
  • Immediate help is needed