Police made failings in relation to reports about man with Asperger’s later found dead

Commissioner Kate Frame
Commissioner Kate Frame

The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) found a number of failings in the way police responded to reports of concern about a man suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, who was later found dead.

The circumstances of Mr Bow’s death were referred to the PIRC by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). The Commissioner has now made a number of recommendations to Police Scotland’s Chief Constable.

Andrew Bow, 37, who had learning difficulties and was recorded on the police database as a vulnerable person, was last seen by police officers on 12 March 2016, in Edinburgh, when they found him in a confused and paranoid state. They took him to hospital for treatment before later taking him back to his flat.

A few days after, police started to receive reports of concern for Mr Bow and about damage to his flat. The first of these reports was made on 16 March and included a report that he may have committed suicide, however officers did not attend his home until 23 March 2016, when he was found dead.

The PIRC investigation focused on Police Scotland’s handling of telephone calls received in relation to Mr Bow’s welfare.

In her report to the COPFS, the Commissioner found a series of failings in how Police Scotland, particularly the Area Control Room (ACR) staff at Bilston Glen, dealt with numerous reports of concern for Mr Bow.

Following agreement with the COPFS, Commissioner Kate Frame is now able to publish a summary of her findings.

She said: “I have made a number of recommendations to the Chief Constable to ensure the handling of calls by staff at Bilston Glen are managed better, within the required timescales and that all available officers are sent to priority calls, especially those of concern about a vulnerable person.”