West Midlands, England, February, 2017 -- West Midlands Police has admitted its poor performance in answering non-emergency 101 calls has "not dramatically improved".
A bombshell report was published two months ago revealing that 170,000 crime calls went unanswered because of a staffing crisis.
Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe said 999 performance has improved since December, but conceded that 101 service had still not improved dramatically because of a focus on answering emergency calls instead.
She told the Strategic Police and Crime Board that the ongoing problems were "inextricably linked with resources."
She said the latest figures showed 98 per cent of 999 calls were now being answered within the target time. The previous performance of 999 calls saw 84 per cent answered within the 10 second target.
Dep Chief Cons Rolfe did not provide any updated figures on the recent performance of non-emergency 101 calls, but added it had not dramatically improved.
In December the force admitted that just 48 per cent of the 101 were answered within 30 seconds between April and December. The national target is 90 per cent.
Members of the public also spent an average of 48 seconds waiting for those 101 calls to be answered.
The police chief said 20 new staff were taken on last month and 20 are due to be taken on in February. There are also plans to employ another 40 in March.
However, she said improvements to the service are not expected until June.
Chief Constable David Thompson apologised for the previous failings and said the force was working hard to bring in staff.
The previous failings were revealed in December in a report from Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Cann, who said 172,381 calls were abandoned after the 30 second threshold was reached.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "This is an issue of real importance. The real problem is for people making more routine contact and the length of time they had to wait. We are going to keep your feet to the fire on this.
"This is not a criticism of the people who are working exceedingly hard in this area, the problem is there is not enough of them."
Both the emergency (999) and non-emergency (101) departments are currently being merged as part of huge changes being introduced across the force, under the 2020 modernisation programme.
Operators will soon be trained to handle both types of calls and bosses say there will be a recruitment drive to replace staff and increase numbers.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About West Midlands Police:
West Midlands Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the metropolitan county of West Midlands in England.
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017
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