Lamara Bell’s death a consequence of political decisions, says Rennie

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Politicians have sharply criticised the Scottish Government and Police Scotland over the force’s failures which contributed to the death of young mother of two Lamara Bell.

The force has been fined £100,000 after admitting faults which “materially contributed” to the death of Ms Bell, 25, following a crash on the M9 in July 2015.

Despite a call being made to police, it took them three days to respond.

Ms Bell died in hospital four days after being found, while her partner John Yuill, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie, who has campaigned for answers in the case for several years, called for ministers to apologise to the families of the couple and the public, adding: “This was a consequence of their political decisions.”

Mr Rennie said: “Political decisions have consequences. This is one of the darkest.

“The Scottish Government were cavalier about their centralisation of the police, rushing it through despite all the warnings.

“Experienced staff were replaced with officers from the front line who didn’t know how the call handling systems worked.

“Accepting responsibility is the very least that Police Scotland can do, given all that the families have had to endure.

“The Scottish Government must now do likewise.”

Scottish Conservative shadow community safety minister, Russell Findlay, said Police Scotland had kept families waiting “far too long” before admitting criminal liability.

He said: “This admission is a shocking indictment of how the SNP scandalously failed to guarantee their new police force’s call handling system met basic standards.

“These failings spanned a three-year period and put the public at risk.

“Lamara Bell’s father has said Police Scotland have still not learned lessons from the death of his daughter. It is hard to disagree with his view given that thousands of 101 calls are still not being routinely answered.

“The SNP-Green Government must ensure every robust measure is in place so that any incident similar to what occurred on the M9 will never happen again.”

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