Devon and Cornwall Police get £250K for failing 101 service

Tony Hogg
Image caption Tony Hogg said the 101 service was a "poor state of affairs"

Police are to get £250,000 for "immediate improvements" to the 101 non-emergency phone service in Devon and Cornwall.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg said the service was currently not fit for purpose and had got worse.

He said caller waiting times had doubled and new technology was delayed.

Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Shaun Sawyer said: "It's clear we haven't got the confidence of the public that we want."

Mr Hogg said that over the past year:

  • The average call waiting time for non urgent matters has almost doubled to more than eight minutes
  • The percentage of callers waiting for more than 10 minutes for call resolution has more than doubled from 13% to 32%
  • There have been delays of more than 12 months in the introduction of new technology and improvements cannot be made for a further six months
  • Police management's understanding of performance in these areas is poor - which suggests a lack of focus on public call handling

"This report demonstrates a poor state of affairs," he said.

"At a time when we have been reducing some face-to-face contact though the closure of public enquiries offices, it is vital that our phone contact system is fit for purpose - it is not. There is a lack of police management focus in this area and that needs to change.

"The inability to implement important technology upgrades remains a barrier to performance improvements and is immensely frustrating.

"Over 12 months ago, I committed to a marked improvement in public call handling. This has not happened and it is unacceptable."

He said he was making £250,000 available to the chief constable and expected to see a significant drop in the number of callers having to wait for more than 10 minutes over the next few months.

Mr Sawyer blamed "clunky technology" for delays and added that more calls were being screened to "understand the issues" of callers which had also led to delays.

He said: "It's very clear that the length of time that people are waiting is unacceptable to the commissioner and I get that."

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