Dorset Police recruitment plea to answer 101 and 999 calls

Police control room Image copyright PA
Image caption Last year the force received 401,000 calls - 73,000 of which were 999 emergencies

More people need to be recruited to cope with the number of 101 and 999 calls made to Dorset Police, the force has said.

There are currently about 20 vacancies within its team of about 150 call handlers and radio operators.

Last year, 401,000 calls were received from members of the public - 73,000 of which were 999 emergencies.

The force said it was meeting its targets for call answering times, despite recruitment issues.

Command centre operations manager Wendy Eveleigh said it was looking for people to work across all areas of the team.

"When we have the vacancies it puts a lot more pressure on the members of staff who are undertaking the work, which is why we try to recruit five times a year," she said.

Dorset Police said 70% of 101 calls to its command centre had been answered within 30 seconds over the past 12 months.

It added over 90% of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds, despite a rise in demand for the services.

Abandoned calls

In 2013, Dorset Police vowed to improve its 101 non-emergency service, which was launched in 2011, after "difficulties" answering calls - including calls being abandoned - partly due to delays in staff recruitment.

Later that year it said it had resolved the issues and was answering non-emergency calls by an average of 37 seconds.

In 2014, more than a million callers who tried to get through to the police 101 non-emergency phone service across the UK were cut off or decided to abandon their efforts, a BBC report revealed.

Of 481,143 received 101 calls in Dorset, 6.6% were dropped.

Last year the force apologised after a "technical glitch" caused delays in answering 101 non-emergency calls for four days.

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