People waiting up to an hour for 101 calls to be answered, says North Yorkshire Police
by
Nov 28, 2022
North Yorkshire Police force control room
North Yorkshire Police force control room.

People are waiting for up to an hour for a 101 call to be answered, a senior North Yorkshire Police officer has said.

Mike Walker, assistant chief constable at the force, told a North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner public accountability meeting that the figure was “not acceptable”.

He said that the force had an average answer time of eight minutes and 47 seconds for October 2022 – four times the national standard.

The target for police force’s across the country is to answer 80% of non-emergency calls within two minutes.

ACC Walker said the long waiting times for 101 was the reason why the force’s abandonment rate was so high. This refers to the number of people giving up.

He said:

“On a daily basis we look at that from a chief officer team and I know there have been people waiting between half an hour and an hour on 101 on some days.

“It’s just not acceptable and this is why we have an abandonment rate of 20%. We should not be having more than 5% on 101.”


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ACC Walker told the meeting that Humberside Police had agreed to carry out a peer review of the force’s call handling and help them improve.

He added that the police were keen to improve the call times and return the control room to an “outstanding” rating.

Zoe Metcalfe, Mike Walker and Mabs Hussain, deputy chief constable, at the public accountability meeting.

Zoe Metcalfe, Mike Walker and Mabs Hussain, deputy chief constable, at the public accountability meeting.

He said:

“We know how we need to achieve that.

“It’s a question of putting the right plans in place and having the relevant discussions and then, over the next 12 months, it’s a question of getting back to where we need to be by serving the public of North Yorkshire with an outstanding control room.

“That needs to be the aim.”

Zoe Metcalfe, the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said the aim needed to be “a lot quicker than 12 months”, but added she accepted that “these things take time”.

The move comes as concerns over the length of time it takes to answer 101 calls has been a long-running concern across the county.

Ms Metcalfe’s predecessor, Philip Allott, was told by North Yorkshire county councillors last year that the non-emergency line was “not fit for purpose and it hasn’t been fit for purpose for the last eight years” and that “the phone just doesn’t get answered”.