Sheffield residents waiting less time to get through to the police
Residents are waiting less time to get through to the 101 police control room in South Yorkshire compared to 12 months ago, a senior officer has said.
Doncaster Supt Neil Thomas told councillors things were improving and said the chief constable was committed to bolstering numbers in the Atlas Court control room in Sheffield which takes both 101 and 999 calls across the region.
The officer fielding questions on the call response times said the force had to find a balance between boosting front line numbers and resources in the control room.
Reports also show Atlas Court staff were recognised by Government inspectors for the ‘quality of call handling and the information provided’ and £1.1 million of investment has been put aside for the service.
Finningley Coun Jane Cox said it was common to wait 45 minutes trying to get through on 101 and asked what was being done to improve performance.
“The issue of 101 does come up every year but in short, it will improve because the chief (constable) has committed to put in more staff," Supt Thomas said.
“But if I’m being honest, there’s not a single control room in the country that could commit to picking up every single 101 call straight away.
“I’m sorry you had to wait 45 minutes - the average is less than that but there will always be peak times during the working week when the demand is highest.
“The amount of staff we would need to put into the control room to pick up every call straight away would be three or four times what we have at the moment.
“There’s a stark choice the chief constable has at the moment where he puts his resources into front line officers or does he bolster the control room? Bolstering the call answering facility, you only create the demand at the front end so there is a fine balance between staffing in the control room and those on the front line but that is a challenge we’re trying to address.
“Things are improving and where we were 12 months ago, the average waiting times are coming down.”