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Public meeting over fears 101 problems not being taken seriously

Ashley Mason 101

2:02pm 20th October 2017
(Updated 5:17pm 20th October 2017)

A City of York councillor has organised a meeting to discuss the state of the 101 service in North Yorkshire.

It's planned for the 19th December although the venue has yet to be sorted.

Lisa Wynward. the deputy chief constable,  Adam Thompson York superintendent and Charlotte Blocksham, the control room manager, will be there to address the problems and take questions.

Ashley Mason, a Lib Dem councillor for the Dringhouses ward has written to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Cllr Mason is also Vice Chair, of the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.

He told us

I think the work that control room staff and officers on the streets do is great but I have been dismayed not to see any tangible improvement in the 101 service.

Despite the hard work of dedicated staff, which I saw first-hand on my recent visit to the Control Room in York, we still hear reports of long delays to report crime and anti-social behaviour via the 101 number.

The lack of police visibility on the streets and the difficult in getting a response via telephone is a real concern for residents.

To take one of many recent examples I was astonished to learn that the clerk of Haxby Town Council has not had a reply to his email of 11 September where he outlines his own problems using the 101 number.

At the last meeting of the Police and Crime Panel the Police and Crime Commissioner acknowledged the failings of the 101 number and committed to improve the service,.

However the lack of response to Haxby Town Council only reinforces my concern that this problem is not being taken seriously.

Residents and councillors value the work of the police and the support staff and we understand the demands placed on them.

Being able to contact the police is absolutely vital and the current situation is not acceptable.

I am calling on you to take immediate action and publish a plan setting out how you will urgently make improvements to the 101 service.

 

Earlier this year police issued this update

Callers to North Yorkshire Police should start to see an improvement in service following the introduction of a range of measures designed to help deal with an unprecedented increase in calls.

999 calls to the Force Control Room have increased from 4,911 during January 2017, to 8,551 in the month of August. Calls to the non-emergency, 101 number have also shown an increase from 21,045 during January to 24,017 during August.

North Yorkshire Police has introduced a number of changes intended to improve service and reduce call waiting times.

The changes include:

· The introduction of an operator service. A caller can now hold for the operator if they are unsure which department they require or have a general question. The function was introduced on 2 August and takes an average of 324 calls per day. At present it is staffed by control room staff, but 10 new operators are being recruited and will be deployed according to demand. They are due to start work over the coming weeks. These staff are in addition to the 20 new staff currently being recruited for the control room and will deal with general queries and the triage of calls requiring further assistance.

· The introduction of a call-back facility on the non-emergency line. This allows a caller to request a call back during times of high demand rather than wait in a queue for their call to be answered. Following its introduction on 30 August, it has received positive feedback from members of the public who have used it. To date, an average of 115 callers per day request this option. The abandonment rate of non-emergency calls is also showing a downward trend

· From 5 September, Crime Recording and Occurrence Management (CROM) administrative tasks were removed from the Force Control Room and are now carried out by a separate department. This has taken 14,000 admin tasks away from control room staff per month, allowing them to focus on call handling and customer service.

In addition, longer-term projects to introduce changes in how we work will be implemented in the new year and these will have an impact on the Force Control Room. In the first quarter of 2018, the force will be upgrading its command and control system with a more modern and user friendly version which will help speed up processes and contribute to overall efficiency.

During the first half of 2018, a phased roll-out of operational mobile devices will see a gradual reduction in requests for system checks - such as people, vehicle, and address checks - from front-line officers, as the new devices will allow them to conduct their own checks on the spot. This will ease the demand on control room staff.

Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward said:

“We acknowledge that our call handling speeds have dropped following a dramatic increase in calls to the control room.

Earlier this summer, we began a series of changes to deal with the increase in demand and bring call handling times back up to our usual good standard.

“Some of these changes have now come to fruition and callers are already receiving a better service.

We know there is still a long way to go, and I thank members of the public for their patience and understanding as we work to bring about these changes, some of which will take time to implement.”


Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, added:

“I am here to speak up for the people of North Yorkshire, and they have said loud and clear that the 101 service is not good enough. Given that feedback, I have raised this continually with the force, and it now forms a specific part of my monthly scrutiny meetings.

I know the Chief Constable understands those concerns and is committed to improving the service as quickly as possible. A number of initiatives are now in place that will address some of the wider problems being faced by the control room, and I will be watching very closely to make sure the service improves as we expect it to

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and officers working in the control room for their continued hard work in sometimes very challenging circumstances.”

 

Monthly call figures for 2017

999

Jan 4911
Feb 4893
Mar 5587
Apr 5855
May 6625
June 7076
July 8189
August 8551

Non-emergency 101

Jan 21,045
Feb 19,898
Mar 24,463
Apr 22,868
May 25,387
June 26,115
July 26,898
Aug 24,017

 

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