New measures are being introduced by North Yorkshire Police to address a drop in call handling speeds as use of the 999 and 101 phone lines dramatically rises.
Calls to the Force Control Room increased from 4,911 during January 2017, to 8,551 in the month of August, while the non-emergency line number increased from 21,045 to 24,017 across the same period.
NYP has said it's not alone as forces across the country have faced a rise of 20 per cent in the number of calls to the 999 line. New measures including the introduction of a new operator service have already been introduced, along with 10 new operators and an additional 20 staff for the control room.
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.”
The operators, a new role for NYP, will begin training once vetting is complete and finish in approximately one week. Additional communications officers and dispatchers will start training in January and have a five to six week set of training. This will be coupled with a ten-week tutor period and additional training sessions.
Callers to the 101 number can also request a call back during times of high demand rather than waiting in a queue, NYP have said since the introduction of this there has been a drop in the number of people dropping calls.
Administrative work is also being moved to a department Crime Recording and Occurrence Management Unit to free up staff for calls.
Next year upgrades to NYP's command and control system will be introduced, and a phased roll-out of operational mobile devices carried out.
The devices will enable front-line officers to carry out checks on people, vehicles, addresses and more on the spot as opposed to calling in requests to the control room.
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.”