Thursday 18 February 2016

Cutting Costs Costs Lives

The Police Scotland single force experiment has always been about one thing and one thing only - saving money at the expense of service to the public.

Full marks to councillor Alastair Cooper from the Shetland islands safety and resilience board for speaking out directly about this and stating quite clearly that their attempts to save money costs lives.

You see, being from a small local community in a remote area of Scotland Alistair knows that his community has its own unique set of problems. Inclement weather and storms are the most obvious ones, but there are many more. He rightly has concerns that call centre staff in big cities in central Scotland cannot possibly have the essential local knowledge required to enable them to effectively deal with emergency calls from these remote areas.

I couldn't agree more.

I spent some time in the USA and I had to learn about a few strange things which were unique to living in that particular area.

For example, in the hotter southern states you should always make sure you kill a snake that bites you, put it in your pocket, and take it to A&E department with you - that way they can identify the snake and give you the correct treatment for the poison. It may sound like common sense now that you've read it, but if a police call centre handler didn't know this local information they would probably just advise you to go to the nearest A&E department - without the snake - and you could be dead by the time the hospital identify the poison.

Yes, local knowledge can save lives and not just in tropical countries.

But in the race to cut costs, our politicians and Police Scotland have missed this completely.