Callers urged to go online or use call back option following surge in calls to control room
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Northamptonshire Police are reminding the public of online services or call back options for non-emergencies to help the control room prioritise emergency calls
In a bid to manage calls and expectations, the force is reminding the public of the various options available to them that can both help the force deal with emergencies while providing the public better options for assistance.
Superintendent Emily Vernon, who heads the control room, said: “Every year, we take hundreds of thousands of calls into the control room. Not all of these are emergencies and not all of these require an immediate police response.
“Inevitably what happens is that the queue builds up because everyone is trying to call one central call centre. This can lead to long wait times. We want to better inform people of the options available to them if it’s not an emergency.
“For non-emergencies, a range of things can be reported online at your convenience at www.northants.police.uk. From road traffic collisions, fraud and anti-social behaviour. Alternatively, you can select a call back option to allow one of our trained staff to call you back at a more convenient time. Using these options doesn’t mean you get a lesser service. It just allows us to manage calls and deal with the public in a different way.
“Of course, for real emergencies, we would expect you to call 999 or 101 when required.”
An infographic has been produced explaining the process calls go through, how they are prioritised according to the level of threat, harm and risk, and the time people can expect to wait for a call to be answered. The aim is to help people better understand the process and make the right decision on how to seek help.
In the past year (April 2020 to April 2021) the force received 314,136 calls to the control room, averaging 861 calls a day. On average 298 of those calls were made to 999. By comparison only 168 crimes were recorded per day meaning under 20 per cent of calls in the past year were crimes.
24 per cent of calls in the past year related to ‘public safety and welfare – calls such as missing people or weather-related incidents. 942 calls related to noise, 140 hoax calls, 21,736 transport related calls and 1112 civil disputes.
With increasing numbers of people going online for things like mobile banking, the force hopes to raise awareness of how the public can help reduce wait times by going digital, and thereby free up 999 and 101 for people who really need to speak to the police.
#WhoYouGonnaCall Find out what happens when you call the police control room