Non-emergency callers to be offered callback option by Northamptonshire Police

Northamptonshire Police is now offering non-emergency callers a callback option to manage waiting times over the phone - and have a service for logging incidents online.

The pledge sets out an aim to answer '101 calls' within 60 seconds and prioritise them according to the level of threat, harm and risk.

The forceaims to answer 90 per cent of 999 calls within 10 seconds. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

The forceaims to answer 90 per cent of 999 calls within 10 seconds. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Once the assessment is done and the call put into the appropriate category, the caller may be offered a call back option, after a set time has lapsed, preventing callers from waiting for long periods to have their concern dealt with.

Superintendent Ash Tuckley, 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’re hoping that this campaign and pledge will better inform people of how long they can expect to wait when they call us and prompt people to think about whether they need to make that call or if it’s something that they can do online at their own convenience.

“Crucially though, we hope that the messages will help to educate people about the process of threat, risk and harm assessment that each caller undertakes and which leads to that call being prioritised accordingly. We want people to be aware of how long they may wait, and in the case of non-emergencies, may be offered a call back option.

Pictured Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold and Superintendent Ash Tuckley who heads the control room. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictured Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold and Superintendent Ash Tuckley who heads the control room. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

“We know that people don’t like waiting when they call 101, but with large numbers of calls coming in, if it’s not a higher priority it may end up in a queue."

A new campaign was launched yesterday (Tuesday) aimed at increasing awareness among the public of how calls are dealt and why some may take longer to resolve.

It includes a new video and billboards, which the force aims to educate callers about why, and how long they may wait, when calling 101 and how they can now report some non-emergencies easily and conveniently online.

The control room, which on average takes just over 1,178 calls a day, is often the first point of contact with the police for many people.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Last year the control room operators answered 280,531 calls to the 101 number, averaging 1,178 calls a day, of which 320 were 999 calls. By comparison, on average only 167 crimes were recorded a day.

Calls relating to individuals with mental health issues, social needs, vulnerable cases or people reported missing have increased - calls that often take longer to deal with.

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.

Northamptonshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, said: "The time it can take to get through on the phone to report something that is important, but not as high priority as a 999 call, is something that people talk to me about on a daily basis.

Pictures Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures Kirsty Edmonds.

"This campaign is just the start of a programme that aims to make it easier for people to get in touch with the police. We want people to understand that you may have to wait while urgent matters are dealt with and that some things can quickly and simply be reported online. Then over the coming year we will roll out a programme of initiatives that will ultimately enable people to report issues quickly and simply and in a way that suits them best."