News : Outrage as Callers Dial 999 for Coppers... But Get Call Centre Instead
Sussex, UK, Nov 27, 2015 -- A cop force will palm off crime victims to a call centre to avoid sending out officers.
People who ring 999 or 101 will have their calls transferred to the "resolution centre" if the crime is deemed not serious enough.
Instead of assigning coppers, Sussex Police are encouraging victims to send in evidence themselves — such as CCTV footage or pictures.
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said the call centre investigators will aim to contact the victim within 24 to 48 hours of the report.
He hopes it will deal with 41,000 low-priority incidents — including theft.
Police campaigners claim the move is a direct result of frontline cuts despite Chancellor George Osborne’s vow to protect their budgets in the Autumn Statement.
Sir Peter Bottomley, Tory MP for West Worthing in Sussex, told The Sun: "If this is used by people willingly in a way that’s convenient to them and helpful to the police, then that is welcome.
"But if I discover people are diverted there inappropriately, the police will be told. If you have a frail, elderly person who has suffered the first break-in of her life, she obviously needs support."
Sussex Police set up the new call centre after consulting with Hampshire Constabulary, which also provides the service.
Assistant Chief Constable Smith said: "This different way of dealing with these low-risk non-emergency calls reduces the need for officers to attend appointments, enabling response officers to focus on emergency calls."
A force spokesman added: "The phone and online service will allow officers to use their time effectively and provide an improved service."
Last month The Sun earlier told how Cambridgeshire cops had become the first force to speak to crime victims on Skype instead of making home visits.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Sussex Police:
Sussex Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Sussex in southern England (which for administrative purposes is split into East Sussex, West Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove). Its headquarters is in Lewes, East Sussex.
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2015