999 or 101?
Since early 2017, we've seen a steep increase in the number of emergency 999 and non-emergency 101 calls being made to police.
In January 2017 we dealt with 4,911 emergency 999 calls. However, by August 2017 that number had almost doubled to 8,551 and the trend seems to be continuing, with demand remaining high ever since. It’s a similar experience nationwide, with all UK forces reporting an increase in the number of calls coming into them.
Taking note of the changing demand picture and the increasing pull on resources,over the past year we’ve made some fundamental changes within the Force Control Room, to enable us to handle the increase in the volume of calls and ensure we continue to answer calls quickly and efficiently.
More call handlers have been recruited and improvements have been made to our auto-switchboard and voice recognition software. An operator and call back service for 101 calls has also been launched. These two services alone have paid dividends, decreasing the length of time a caller to 101 has to wait to speak to an operator.
In 2018, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire announced a £3 million investment to further strengthen our resources and response.
Another intake of call handlers have been recruited to strengthen the workforce and a newly built call centre facility is due to be unveiled soon at Fulford Road in York. Improved training and tutoring are being introduced, to allow staff to be coached in smaller groups, more quickly, enabling new recruits to become operational as soon as possible. State of the art IT equipment is to be installed and a dedicated Crime and Occurrence Management Unit is being established, to take over the responsibility for crime recording, freeing further resource within the Force Control Room.
With these changes in place, we are confident that we are fit for any further rise in demand.
However, the public also have a part to play in this increasing demand picture, which is to only call 999 in the case of a genuine emergency or immediate threat. In the case of non-emergencies, or to pass on information, 101 is the number to call. If it’s a general question, it may be an idea to check the information available on our website.
Unfortunately we do get instances where people have called 999 to ask for a lift because they have missed their train, or report the fact that their local take away has closed early. Calls such as these could stop a genuine emergency from getting through to us. So please – help us to help you and only dial 999 in an emergency.
We’ve developed some short animations, which provide some guidance on when to contact police and which is the best number to use: