Ex cop has ‘no confidence’ in Borders police service

Tony McCluskey says he has no confidence in the police after they refused to follow up after his car was vandalised.
Tony McCluskey says he has no confidence in the police after they refused to follow up after his car was vandalised.

When Tony McCluskey’s car was scratched recently, he was asked by police to conduct his own investigation, because they didn’t have the manpower to do so themselves.

Far from being the reaction he was looking for, he believes this could be a dangerous thing for the public to do.

Mr McCluskey, a 44-year-old former policeman, who stays in Weensland Road, Hawick, told us: “We reported our car vandalised last week, but no police officer attended, no-one viewed the damage and no statement was taken.

“Instead, we received a text saying it had been recorded for information and then 24hrs later another text saying it was all but done and here was the reference.

“As I had 13 years in the police and thought this wasn’t​ right, I called Police Scotland and spoke to a call handler who emailed my request to speak with an officer who then called me the next day.

“This officer, who had no local knowledge whatsoever, advised me that, as there were no lines of enquiry, Police Scotland would not instigate an investigation into the damage to my car.

“If I could establish for them a line of enquiry through my own investigation and then let them know, then they might.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It could be dangerous for the public to conduct their own investigations.

“The officer explained that Police Scotland just don’t have enough officers to follow such crimes and offences up and said: ‘That’s just how it is under Police Scotland. That’s policy.’”

“This policy is not congruent with the Police (Scotland) Act (duties of a Constable) and as such, does this mean that Police Scotland’s approach to such offences is unlawful?”

This is the second time in two years Mr McCluskey has had his car damaged, however, he does not believe he is being targeted as it was at a different address.

He said: “When I was a police officer, I would have interviewed the complainer, checked the damage and would have gone door to door, asking neighbours if they had seen anything.

“When this happened two years ago, it took police two weeks to come and see me, by which time the video on a neighbour’s CCTV system was wiped.”

This time, the damage to his car cost £46 to put right.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said that a grading system was in place.

“She said: “Police Scotland deals with around three and a half million calls from the public annually via 101 and 999.

“To help us manage that demand, a grading system is used to prioritise resources and respond appropriately to crimes and incidents reported to us. When there is scope for enquiry, local officers will always investigate.

“We continue to work to ensure that services meet the increasing demands place on them and continue to provide communities across Scotland with the best services possible.”

Mr McCluskey said he had left the police force three years ago, after he became disillusioned with the job.

He said: “We keep being told that crime is at a record low, so why are police resources not being deployed when it does happen?

“If you do not deal with low level crime, it will escalate.

“I am afraid I do not have any confidence in the police in this area.”

Earlier this month, former Police Inspector Harry Scott of Galashiels told us: “Excellent work is done by the police in the Borders through many initiatives, however, there is no doubt police coverage in the Borders has been seriously diluted since the creation of Police Scotland and there has been a litany of complaints about the standard of service provided.”