The leader of North Yorkshire Police’s force’s watchdog is pressing for further improvements to its non-emergency phone service, as the force faces an unprecedented volume of calls.
Councillor Carl Les, who represents the Catterick Bridge division, said he was not satisfied with changes to North Yorkshire Police’s 101 service, which was launched after the force saw more than 100 calls a day abandoned as control room staff struggled with demand.
The average time taken to answer a 101 call last August was three minutes, 35 seconds.
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North Yorkshire Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Will Naylor told the county’s police and crime panel building work on the force’s Control Room was complete, creating space for extra staff and a training room and 50 staff had been taken on and 24 more were due to start later this year.
He said waiting times for callers were lower than they were last year, and as more staff were trained delays would be further reduced, but ultimately waiting times were dependent on the volume of calls.
Mr Naylor said: “There was one day this month that was as busy as a new year’s eve, it is unprecedented.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Mrs Mulligan added: “We have put a substantial investment into the Control Room, there is no more money and they need to make it work within that financial envelope.”
Cllr Les said the measures introduced to cut call waiting times remained inadequate.
He said: “It is still an issue. This is a huge complaint that the public make to councillors who are out and about in their communities. We are now getting the message ‘we don’t bother reporting the crime because you can’t get through to the 101 number and that’s not good enough.”