Doncaster woman slams ‘unacceptable’ wait for police to answer 101 call

A Doncaster woman claims she was kept waiting for more than two hours on the police 101 line to report a crime and still didn’t get a crime number.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 8:08 am

The woman who did not want to be identified said she used the 101 service after two masked men attempted to steal her disabled husband’s buggy as he sat in a Bentley barbers shop.

She claims she was kept waiting for hours after she tried to report an incident on the police 101 line. She was unable to use the callback service and so waited two and a half hours to report the incident.

Even then she was unable to get a crime number for the incident.

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Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Police and Crime Commissioner said the delay was not acceptable and has said he would raise the issue with the Chief Constable.

The woman said: “ I had the misfortune to ring the 101 crime reporting line after my disabled husband went to Bentley to have his hair cut .

“Whilst in the Barbers on the Avenue Bentley, the guy in the next chair, shouted out "They are pinching your vehicle" He ran out to be confronted by too men in masks and a white Transit van trying to push it towards the van, fortunately he managed to stop them stealing it

“This brave man prevented my husband from getting his vehicle stolen.

“My husbands first mistake was not dialing 999 but he didn't, he came home quite shaken.

“I then dialed 101 to report the crime because the Police tell us if we don't report it, it hasn't happened.”

“I was told I was in a queue and they were so busy the dial back service couldn't be used.”

She said she held on for two hours and 21 minutes and when she was eventually was connected the operator told her she would transfer her to another department and that would be at least an hour.

“I asked her for a crime number but she said I had to deal with the next Department,

“I enquired about the ring back to be told again it wasn't available and perhaps I could ring back tonight when they weren't as busy. Apparently we pay for the calls to this service as well, that adds insult to injury.”

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings said: “ I am sorry your reader did not dial 999 when a crime was being committed. This brings an immediate response.

"But I am equally sorry that the subsequent response time was so long.

"This is not an acceptable level of service even if it was a very busy time. I will raise these issues with the chief constable during our regular meetings.

“On a more general point, I am becoming concerned with the increasing demand that is starting to come the way of the 101 service, especially those calls that are neither crime nor anti-social behaviour related.

"As other telephone lines are closed – or people face automated responses, whether it is for another part of the public sector or the private – more and more people seem to use 101 as a call they can make to report anything. This means that people with genuine reports are having to wait longer for calls to be answered.”