More staff set for South Yorkshire’s hard-pressed 101 police contact service

Callers reporting non-emergencies to the South Yorkshire Police's 101 number could be in for a shorter wait to speak to the force, in a shake-up to the system.

By Danielle Andrews
Monday, 12th October 2020, 2:00 pm
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

A common complaint from exasperated residents is the length of time taken to respond to non-emergency calls, with the latest data showing the average wait time is 12 minutes.

South Yorkshire Police hopes to employ a further 31 members of staff at the force's Atlas Court call centre, in a bid to reduce wait times.

As well as extra switchboard operators, plans are in place to extend the opening hours of the service to seven days a week, between 8am and 10pm, instead of 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

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A digital desk is also being created, which will employ 16 members of staff to receive online reports from members of the public, and will be available from 7am until 3am.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is set to receive a report detailing the plans at tomorrow's public meeting.

The report states: "An increase in Switchboard staffing leads to better service to members of the public, being the first voice they will hear and setting expectations on wait times, as well as encouraging members of the public towards other methods of contact more applicable to their needs.

"We expect investing in Switchboard will allow us to better manage the volume of 101 calls, positively impacting our service level percentages on both 101 and 999 functions.

"This positive impact on 999 volume will emerge as the better we manage 101, the less chance a member of the public switches to 999. "