M9 car crash deaths: Urgent review of police call handling ordered after officers took three days to respond to fatal crash

Lamara Bell and John Yuill  are understood to have been left undiscovered in the car for three days, despite the crash being reported on the day it happened

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The Independent Online

An urgent review has been ordered into all police call handling following the deaths of a couple who lay undiscovered in a car for three days.

Lamara Bell, 25, was found critically injured next to her dead partner John Yuill on Wednesday, about 72 hours after the crash.

Police were contacted on Sunday 5 July by a member of the public to say that they had seen a vehicle down an embankment near the M9 slip road at Bannockburn.

However, “for reasons yet to be established” the call was not logged in the police system and no action was taken by way of response.

The car was found when another call from a member of the public on Wednesday prompted police to investigate.

They found 25-year-old Ms Bell critically ill next to her dead partner Mr Yuill, 28. She was taken to hospital where she later died of her injuries.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “I have today directed Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary to undertake a formal investigation and review of call handling and process within Police Scotland's Contact Command and Control Centres.

"I have spoken to the chief constable and this review has the full support of Police Scotland.

"This independent review will provide the Scottish Government with an accurate picture of capacity and capability at present, and clearly identify any issues so they can be promptly remedied.

"This will assist in providing assurance around the operation of call handling within Police Scotland's Contact Command and Control Centres. On completion the report will be submitted to ministers, who will consider its recommendations."

A spokesman for the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner said: "The commissioner will rigorously pursue a full independent investigation to establish the circumstances of what happened and will focus on why a telephone call made to Police Scotland three days earlier, which reported their car was off the road, was not followed up.

"The commissioner will also examine the robustness of Police Scotland's missing person inquiry and look at why that inquiry was not linked with the information received in the call, while examining the police procedures used to log this particular call made from a member of the public.

"Given the early stage of inquiries it is inappropriate to speculate as to what the outcome will be."

It is understood that the couple were returning home from a camping trip with friends when Yuhil’s Renault Clio left the road.

With additional reporting by PA