New specialist team of police officers in Highlands to help resolve calls from public
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A new team of specialist police officers has been set up in Inverness to help improve responses to calls from the public.
It will provide enhanced local knowledge and experience of policing urban, remote and island communities to Police Scotland's national contact command and control service.
Initially, 25 police officers will work as part of the resolution team to provide advice and resolve suitable enquiries from the public over the telephone, by face-to-face appointment, or via video link.
The new approach, which has been introduced elsewhere, means calls will go through an enhanced assessment and provide officers and staff with a wider range of options available to offer help based on the caller's needs and circumstances.
It could include immediate attendance at the incident or within a specified timeframe, an appointment with a police officer or assistance directly over the phone.
Divisional Commander for the Highlands and Islands, Chief Superintendent Conrad Trickett, said members of the public will still contact Police Scotland via 999, 101 or at their local police office.
"However, our trained officers and staff, who are the first point of contact, will make an enhanced assessment of threat, harm, risk and vulnerability to ensure the matter is correctly prioritised," he said.
"The ability to conduct this enhanced assessment of vulnerability on every call and provide increased resolution options allows us to provide the right response to every caller."
The team will join the previously-established National Database Enquiry Unit in refurbished offices in Inverness and further development of the services is expected in the future.
It represents major investment in services in the north and increases the ability to dispatch officers to urgent incidents which means getting to the people who need police assistance most, when they need it most.
It also provides additional resilience and enables Police Scotland to maximise its resources to ensure frontline policing is protected during the coronavirus pandemic.