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Calls to Avon and Somerset Police on 101 Now Take Over a Minute to Answer

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Weston-super-Mare, UK, April 3, 2016 -- Callers to Avon and Somerset police's 101 number are now waiting an average of one minute and 30 seconds for someone to pick up.

The number of calls to police that have been ended after being not answered within a minute has more than doubled in recent years.

It took call handlers around 18 seconds to answer the non-emergency 101 number in 2012/13, but that has risen to an average of one minute and 30 seconds.

Figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act show that 43,596 calls on the number were abandoned after a minute from April 2015 through to the end of February this year.

That rose from just 21,379 in 2012/13.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "I am fully aware of the frustrations that many residents have faced when they cannot get through on the 101 non-emergency number and this is the reason I will be continuing to invest in this vital service.

"There is still work to do with 101 performances but with this continued support the service is one local people can have confidence in."

The rise in waiting times has been put down to a new way of managing calls, put in place in October 2014 in order to identify vulnerable victims as well as enhance the recording of crime.

It means 101 calls are streamed into two places; with two-thirds being dealt with by a standard operator and a secondary line where more complicated calls are handled by more skilled police staff.

The call centre at police headquarters receives 2,200 non-emergency calls every day.

Police announced last week that it would be boosting the secondary line and funding for it would remain in place throughout this year.

Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Watson, who's responsible for the force's communications service, said "Our way of working in the Communications Centre is designed to make sure we provide a high quality service and prioritise help and support for those who need us most.

"Demand is increasing and the nature of policing today means we must place calls about incidents that pose the greatest threat, harm and risk to victims at the very top of the list.

"The switchboard helps us to prioritise these calls but we need the public's help to keep the 101 service running effectively."

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "I am fully aware of the frustrations that many residents have faced when they cannot get through on the 101 non-emergency number and this is the reason I will be continuing to invest in this vital service.

"There is still work to do with 101 performances but with this continued support the service is one local people can have confidence in."

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Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: http://www.centralsomersetgazette.co.uk

Date Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2016



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