Oxford

Thames Valley Police 101 non-emergency calls wait 'dreadful'

Man holding phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In 2018, it took an average of eight minutes to get through to an operator on 101 in the Thames Valley

Wait times for Thames Valley Police's non-emergency 101 hotline last year were "dreadful", the deputy police and crime commissioner has said.

It took an average of eight minutes to get through to an operator, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Matthew Barber said: "We know the performance of 101 was really bad... there's no point pretending it wasn't."

Police figures show this year's average is two minutes and 45 seconds.

Commenting during a presentation at Oxfordshire County Council's performance scrutiny committee, Mr Barber said response times in 2018 were "dreadful and that puts a lot of people off".

"It reduces confidence in the public reporting crime and that's not good enough."

However, he admitted the situation had improved.

"We are there at the moment, under three minutes, so we've achieved the target that we've set ourselves," he said.

The 101 number, for reporting non-emergency incidents such as criminal damage, anti-social behaviour or stolen vehicles, was introduced in December 2011 to free-up calls to 999.

In May, the Home Office announced all calls to the service would be free from April 2020.

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