Cambs Police hiring 10 extra call handlers after complaints about 101 service response times


- Credit: Archant

Ten extra call handlers will be recruited to answer 101 calls following complaints about response times.

In order to overcome delays during peak call periods, more than £300,000 is being invested in recruiting and training the extra staff.

The Police Service Centre, where the 101 calls are answered, receives about 30,000 calls a month.

About half the calls can be dealt with immediately. However, half need to be transferred to another member of staff. In these cases, there can be a delay during busy periods.

The average wait time in February was three minutes 28 seconds. However, some callers have had to wait considerably longer.

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Public dissatisfaction with the 101 service remains one of the most common complaints received by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright.

He said: “I am well aware from comments made to me by the public that delays in answering 101 calls is a big issue.

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“I consider 101 a front line service and as such people get incredibly frustrated if they want to report a crime but are unable to get through quickly.

“In response to this I have agreed with the Chief Constable to invest in more staff and new technology in order to help the Police Service Centre better cope with periods of high demand.

“I would like to pay tribute to the incredible job that the call handlers do, often dealing with difficult situations and under considerable pressure.”

A total of £60,000 has already invested in new equipment to improve the performance of the 101 service.

The Interactive Voice Response system, which becomes operational in April, will allow callers to be routed to their required destination more quickly.

The Queuebuster System will give callers the option of a ring back while retaining their place in the queue.

Detective Superintendent Chris Mead, head of contact management with Cambs Police, said: “Through a combination of more staff and new technology, the investment agreed this week will enable us to better meet the public’s expectations when using the 101 service.

“Being a 101 call handler is a highly skilled job and it takes time to properly train the operatives.

“While we will begin the recruitment process right away it will take several months to feel the true benefit of the new staff coming through.”

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