Only one UK police force hits key 999 ten-second response target

31 May 2022, 11:18

Only one UK police force hitting key 999 10-second response target
Only one UK police force hitting key 999 10-second response target. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By James Bickerton

All but one British police forces are failing to reach a key 999 call response target according to new data.

Police are tasked with answering 90% of 999 calls within 10 seconds of them being made.

However according to new Home Office statistics just one force, Avon and Somerset Police, is hitting the target.

All other forces failed to hit their objective between November 2021 and April 2022, with a national average of just 71% of calls being answered within 10 seconds.

The worst performing force, Humberside Police, only managed to answer two percent of calls within the targeted period.

After Avon and Somerset the best performing forces were Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, which each hit the target on 89% of calls.

Alison Hernandez and Jeff Cuthbert, from the Association for Police and Crime Commissioners, blamed the "demand for policing and the volume of calls" for the widespread delays.

They added: "Police and Crime Commissioners are committed to supporting excellence in policing and will use this data to continually drive forward improvements and hold the police to account on behalf of the public."

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the figures had been released as "the public deserve to know that their local police force will be at the end of the phone, ready to leap into action at seconds' notice to protect them from harm".

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She continued: "Fundamentally, publishing this data is about driving up standards in our incredible emergency services even further, so that the public can have every confidence in the police's ability to save lives and keep our streets safe.

"We can now see where forces are excelling and where vital improvements need to be made and I thank the police for their commitment to ensuring we maintain the best emergency services in the world."

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), admitted lag could increase police response times.

He added: "We want the public to have access to the data as part of policing being open and transparent.

"This is the first time police forces and the public have been able to see the time it takes to answer 999 calls from the call being made by the public, it being connected to the police by BT and local providers, to it being answered by police call handlers."

The new figures come after the BBC obtained data showing a reduction in police response times across England and Wales. 

Figures from 19 forces showed police were on average 44% slower responding to serious incidents than in 2013. 
They also found the number of reported crimes leading to either charges or a court summons fell between 40% between 2015 and 2021.

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