News : Cambridgeshire Police Under Fire for Non-emergency Call Handling
Dec 21, 2011 -- Cambridgeshire Police are urging people not to misuse their non-emergency number as figures reveal thousands of calls to the force have gone unanswered.
Officers are calling on members of the public to be sure they want to discuss a police matter before dialling the new non-emergency 101 number.
They say calls have been made from a member of the public asking for help because their toilet was no longer flushing, and one from a parent demanding police stop their five-year-old son from eating sweets.
Figures released this month in a report to Cambridgeshire Police Authority show 15 per cent of non-emergency calls - 7,145 - were abandoned in July. The spike coincides with cuts to call centre staff made in May.
Since the summer the number of abandoned calls has fallen to 2,523 or 5.93 per cent in September and 1844 or 4.6 per cent in November, and remains low this month at 4 per cent.
Superintendent Paul Fullwood said they were reviewing the number of staff at the Police Service Centre in Peterborough, which handles the majority of non-emergency calls.
Calls in the early hours of the morning are intercepted by staff at the Force Control Room in Huntingdon.
Supt Fullwood said: "The number of call handlers has been cut which did have an effect on performance. However we are committed to improving our non-emergency call handling service and are reviewing the number of call handlers we have in place to accurately meet the demand.
"We also have plans in place to introduce a speech dialling service which will ease the pressure on the police service centre.
"We continue to encourage people to call us when they have issues in their community, so we dedicate resources to tackle any problems."
A Police Authority spokesman said: "The PA has previously acknowledged that the constabulary have achieved significant savings while improving many aspects of performance.
"Creating savings of this scale is not without risk. In this case performance in call handling has suffered and action has had to be put in place to rectify this.
"Changes were immediately put in place and the situation improved significantly. At the recent scrutiny committee the Police Authority highlighted further improvements still need to be made in both response times and eradicating abandoned calls in order to restore confidence in the call handling process."
Callers are being asked to have the following information to hand when reporting a non-emergency to the police; the location of the incident, your name, address and telephone number, and a brief outline of what has happened.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Thursday, December 22, 2011
- Croydon Council Promise to Cut Telephone Waiting Times
- Sole UK Company Reaches Finals in Global Best Contact Centre Competition: High Hopes for a Gold for the UK!
- Shropshire GPs Demand Answers over NHS Helpline Bailout
- Kiran Kumar Reddy's Gift for Ugadi, 'Dial 100' from Anywhere
- Top Performers in Asia Pacific Best Practice Conference Lineup
- Top Performers in Europe, Middle East & Africa Best Practice Conference Lineup