The Chief Constable of North Yorkshire says they are beginning to see encouraging signs that their programme of action on 101 and 999 calls is working.
The force has been under great pressure to cut waiting times on the 101 which has led to many people giving up after hanging on the line to report non-urgent crime and anti-social behaviour issues.
Lisa Winward told The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Public Accountability Meeting held online today (Thursday 21 July) that she had paid a visit to the force control room in Fulford on Wednesday.
The Chief Constable said: You’ll be reassured to know that at 3:30 (Wednesday Afternoon) whilst I was physically in the control room, there were no calls waiting on 101.
“There were no calls waiting on three nines, there was nothing in the Queue Buster queue and call handling times were seven seconds to answer a three nines call.
“That was a direct result of the number of people operating in the room available to take calls.
“So I personally spoke to those officers and staff who have gone in to help us and we’re very grateful that they are supporting us in this piece of work.
“We are starting to see that the physical increase in staff is making a difference. I know it’s not good enough yet though.”
Zoë Metcalfe, the North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, thanked her for “really grasping the nettle on this”
She added: “We’re both really aware that people are just waiting too long”
She said the improvements seen recently have to be sustained.
Discussing upcoming investments in the force’s Control Room, Assistant Chief Constable Lindsey ACC Butterfield, added:
“This includes putting in place enhanced recruitment plans for more staff within our Force Control Room and expect to have recruited 10% above our establishment by early New Year.
“We have also established a pool of reserve staff to deal with administrative tasks on behalf of the Communications Officers in the Force Control Room. The additional costs for these interim arrangements have been funded by North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
“We will be recruiting for our next intake very shortly so if you or someone you know is interested in joining the team, please keep an eye on the jobs section of our website or register your interest via our vacancies page.”
There were 8,984 emergency calls taken in June 2021, 9,689 in July 2021, and 9,572 in August. Non-emergency calls also increased with 14,912 calls made to 101 in June, 15,412 in July and 14,395 in August.
This year, the lines are even busier with 9,988 emergency and 12,450 non-emergency calls taken in June and so far, this month, 6,535 emergency and 8,055 non-emergency calls have been taken.
The length of call handled on 101 has increased from 6 minutes 41 seconds in 2021, to 7 minutes 15 in 2022 to date, which significantly increased from 2020 at 6 minutes 15 seconds.
The busiest month so far in 2022 was May with 8,847 emergency calls and 13,859 non-emergency calls.
For more information on what matters the police can deal with, visit the Advice and information page on the force’s website.
If you have a non-emergency call 101, or you can report it online at northyorkshire.police.uk and clicking the ‘report’ tab.
Always call 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.