Police Scotland: 101 calls face longer wait times due to Omicron impact

People contacting Police Scotland through its non-emergency 101 number have been warned to expect longer wait times as staff absences rocket due to the spread of Omicron-variant Covid.  

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said that the mutant strain is having a “significant” effect on the service, and that 999 calls are being prioritised. 

“Well-established” plans have been put in place the maintain staff levels as the force takes “all necessary steps” at its contact centres to protect both services and ensure demand can be met.  

However, ACC Spiers said that the 999 number should only be used in the event of an emergency such as a danger to life or a crime in the process of being committed.  

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He said: “The new Omicron Covid variant is having a significant effect on the country and Police Scotland is included in that. 

“We, like any other organisation, are dealing with a large number of absences due to the high transmissibility of Omicron, however, I would like to reassure people that the 999 and 101 service is here and is ready to assist as we face this new challenge in the pandemic. 

“We are taking all steps necessary to protect these critical services and we will continue to prioritise our critical 999 emergency calls to ensure we can assist those who need us most, as quickly as possible.”


ACC Spiers added: “However we also need to make people aware that the serious effects of Omicron is likely to impact our non-emergency 101 service. This means there will be longer waiting times for those calls to be answered. 

“I want to emphasise that if you dial 999 for assistance, we will always respond. However I would urge everyone to play their part by following guidance on the use of 999 and 101 services.

“The 999 number is for emergencies only and should be used to call for urgent police assistance when there is an immediate danger to life or safety, or if a serious crime is happening right now.” 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says more restrictions ‘may be unavoidable

Non-urgent issues can also be reported online using the Contact Us form on the Police Scotland website. 

ACC Spiers concluded: “However policing, so often the service of first and last resort, will never step away from those who are in crisis. So please, if you need us, call us.” 

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