999 and 101 call answering improves at North Yorkshire Police as force no longer a ’cause of concern’

North Yorkshire Police's control room.

North Yorkshire Police chiefs have revealed improved call answering times as national inspectors say the force is no longer on its watch list

The force was issued with a ’cause of concern’ notice by the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) following and inspection in October 2022.

However, the Inspectorate has now noted that significant steps have been taken in response to the cause of concern being issued.

The cause of concern related to strategic planning, organisational management and value for money.

They recommended that the force should:

  • make sure that senior leaders have effective oversight of the force’s enabling services and the current challenges associated with capability;
  • develop an effective workforce plan so it can provide a service that meets the policing needs of the community, now and in the future; and
  • develop and align departmental operational and strategic plans that are informed by accurate information and a detailed performance framework.

An improvement plan was put in place by the force and against all the areas outlined in the cause of concern HMICFRS noted significant improvements.

Senior officers say call answering times in the force control room for 999 and 101 calls and the speed of arrival of response police officers, both in rural and urban locations, are among the areas which have seen significant improvements.

Call answering time is the time taken for a call to be transferred to a force, and the time taken by that force to answer it. In England and Wales, forces should aim to answer 90 percent of these calls within ten seconds.

Comparing the performance of North Yorkshire Police in October 2023 with the same month last year, the number of calls answered within 10 seconds improved from 55% to 87%, with the average time to answer the call dropping from 19 seconds to 7 seconds.

The number of 999 calls taking more than a minute to be answered dropped from 8% to 1%.

A force spokesperson said: “We know how important it is to answer a victim’s call as quickly as possible and are continuing to work to improve our performance month on month.

“When we are prompt at taking the call and assessing the threat appropriately, this leads to better dispatch and attendance times which ultimately reduces the risk to victims of harm and future harm, it ensures timely safeguarding can be put in place and allow early intervention to prevent further harm or criminality.

“Our performance on 101 also improved over the same time period with the average time to answer calls dropping from over three minutes to 1 minute 49 seconds.”

  Oct-22 Oct-23
Number of 999 calls 9,122 9,403
999 calls answered in <10 sec 55% 87%
Average 999 answer time 19 sec 7 sec
999 calls taking more than 1 min to answer 8% 1%
Number of 101 calls 22,000 21,000
Average 101 answer time 3min 34 sec 1 min 49 sec

The force aims to arrive at between 80% and 90% of urban incidents within 15 minutes and within 20 minutes for rural incidents. And the clock starts ticking from the moment the member of the public phones for help.

The force says it has seen a significant improvement in its response times. In September 2023 it was arriving at:

  • Immediate rural: 76% in an average of 16:42 minutes
  • Immediate urban: 82.3% in an average of 12:06 minutes
  • Priority: up to 78% in 1:35:37

In response to the letter from HMICFRS, Chief Constable Lisa Winward said: “I would first of all acknowledge the substantial effort and dedicated work by all of our staff that has been undertaken right across the force over the past year to address the cause of concern raised by the Inspectorate.

“We have worked relentlessly to put in place processes and systems to improve our service to the public. I am pleased that the Inspectorate noted that the improvements which have been made are sustainable.

“The recognition of the Inspectorate of the considerable work that has been completed to support the improvements, and their confidence in how our service delivery will be managed in the future is very welcome. We will continue to build upon these strong foundations to truly embed the changes that were made.

“The Inspectorate provided us with an objective view of the quality of our service and all the work that has been completed this year has been to keep the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York safe, and feeling safe.”

Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe said: “To see the single cause for concern removed just 12-months on from the initial inspection is a tremendous achievement, and testament to the hard work of both Chief Constable Lisa Winward and her whole team, and the effectiveness of public oversight.

“It is fantastic that the clear improvement plan put in place following the initial inspection last year has led to genuine, embedded and measurable progress in keeping the public safe and feeling safe.”

1 Comment

  1. Really I called 101 just over a week ago and it’s an absolute joke, was waiting for absolutely ages to listening to a load of recordings saying report the incident online etc but when you have an idiot constantly using the village like he was driving on the Nurburgring and been a total danger to himself as well as others, I wanted to speak to someone to report it as this was happening. And all I got was the same looped messages until I finally gave up. So if they say it’s been improved god only knows what state 101 was in before.

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