Big improvements to the force's call handling times
Main article content
North Yorkshire Police has made big improvements to 999 call handling times thanks to a review of its processes and the hard work of its Force Control Room.
Figures for July 2023 show the force answered 83% of 999 calls within 10 seconds.
This is a huge improvement compared to September 2022 when 55% of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds.
North Yorkshire Police has achieved those improvements despite its 999 calls increasing by more than 30% in the past year.
The force acknowledges it still has more to do, but August is showing even better performance so far and it believes it is on track to improve even further in the future.
By the end of this August, the organisation is likely to have received the highest volume of 999 calls in any August in history with 10,800 calls. That’s over 400 more than August 2022 which was also a record-breaking year.
Superintendent Fee Willey, who heads up North Yorkshire Police’s Force Control Room, said: “A big boost to our performance was the investment of an additional £1.8million by the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner.
“This provided for an additional 36 communications officers, 12 additional dispatchers, six additional trainers and two additional inspectors.
“In the control room we’ve changed our ways of working. We looked at all our processes to see what was stopping our people being efficient in their roles – what were they doing and how were they doing it? We stripped away anything that was not relevant or slowed them down.
“We found that our trained and highly-skilled call handlers were being restricted by the number and complexity of the forms that they needed to complete for every single call that they received.
“We kept any mandated question sets, but beyond that we gave the call handlers freedom to follow their own initiative, while still being able to refer to question sets if needed. This has resulted in a much speedier process to dispatch officers to incidents while still providing a succinct level of information to the attending officers.
“And the more efficient that the Force Control Room is in performing its role, the quicker that officers can be dispatched to scene.”
Supt Willey added: “First and foremost we are here to serve the public and to safeguard the vulnerable. If it was your child, or your parent at the end of the phone waiting for a response after calling 999, every second would feel like an eternity.
"Being able to consistently answer 83% of those calls within 10 seconds is a huge improvement in the service that we are giving to the public of North Yorkshire.
“They call us in their time of greatest need and we are proud to be able to serve them.
“We are not yet where we want and need to be, in terms of performance. Our goal is to answer 90% of all 999 calls within 10 seconds over a 24-hour period.
“This is one area of business that we can never afford to take our eye off. It is critical to the public's confidence in our service and how safe they feel going about their lives every day."