A MONTROSE woman said this week she was shocked when a simple ‘phone call to report found property to Tayside Police failed to get through - nine times.
The lady, who asked not to be named, found a handbag at a bus stop in the Glens area on Wednesday morning and tried to contact the police to report the find and arrange to hand it in.
But she failed to get through on the force’s non-emergency telephone number which she said added to the distress of the bag’s elderly owner who was, at the same time, at Montrose Police Office.
She said: “I was on my way to work when I saw it so I lifted it and someone at work said they knew the lady. I quickly went round to her house and slipped a note through her door telling her I had her bag and where I work and then went back and ‘phoned the police.
“Because I was at work I couldn’t really hold on until the ‘phone was answered but I thought all I had to do was to call the police office. Meanwhile, the lady was at the police office with no money, no cards and no keys and she was there for about an hour.
“Eventually an officer managed to get into her house using a spare set of keys held by a neighbour, found my note and came round to fetch the bag. But the lady was in a bit of a state and I really wouldn’t have liked that if she’d been my relative.”
A Tayside Police spokeswoman said this week that, while the force cannot comment on individual cases it is keen to hear from people experiencing problems with its service.
She said: “We would ask that this caller and anyone else who experiences problems with our telephony system contacts us with further information, in order for enquiries to be made into the individual circumstances surrounding their calls.
“The 0300 111 2222 number was introduced in 2009 to provide a single point of contact for non-emergency callers. The calls are centralised, in part, to increase the likelihood that calls will be answered within the 40-second national target and to deliver the best possible service to the public of the Tayside area.
“Callers are given a number of options to select. If the caller decides not to pick an option, their call will be transferred to a call handler. If the call is not answered after 40 seconds, the system then allows the caller to leave their contact details in order for a call-handler to call them back when they become available.
“Although every effort is made to answer calls within the desired time frame, this may not be achieved due to circumstances such as high call demand, priority given to answering 999 calls, staff unavailability or technical issues.”