Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner apologises after waiting times for 101 calls revealed

Sir Graham Bright.

Sir Graham Bright. - Credit: Archant

The Police and Crime Commissioner has apologised after it was revealed some people were kept on the phone for almost an hour to report a crime.

A report, which will be presented today to the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Panel, said, while response for 999 calls is “excellent”, secondary pick-up for 101 calls is “not satisfactory and needs improvement”.

About 95 per cent of 999 calls are answered within 10 seconds, with an average waiting time of about five seconds.

But, while 95 per cent of 101 calls are answered within 30 seconds, callers have to wait for on average more than three minutes for the call to be transferred.

In one instance, a caller who dialled 101 to report a crime was put on hold for 59 minutes 18 seconds.

A survey on the 101 service revealed it often took so long for the call to be answered people gave up.

The report says: “The main complaint was the length of time it took to answer the call with people giving up after a period of time. Some people gave up after five minutes, others after 30 minutes.

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“Some callers felt their call was not understood by the call taker and was therefore not directed properly.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright, speaking on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, said improvements need to be made but bringing back a switchboard was not the solution.

He said: “I don’t want people hanging on the phone. I would like to apologise to people in that position. It is something I don’t want to tolerate.

“We are putting resources into this. Just taking on more staff is not necessarily the way forward. It’s about modern technology.

“I don’t want to take frontline police off the street and put them in call centres.”

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