South Yorkshire Police: ‘Average 101 call wait time is less than six minutes’ claims senior officer

A senior South Yorkshire Police officer has said people are now waiting less than six minutes one average to report crimes through the 101 hotline.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 2:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 2:37 pm
Supt Neil Thomas of South Yorkshire Police

Supt Neil Thomas told Doncaster councillors at a meeting in Civic Office the service is ‘significantly better’ because of a new IT system that was installed in November but ‘still had teething problems’. 

He said the average waiting time for people dialling 101 was now 5:34 seconds down from 35 minutes with 999 calls averaging a 15 second hold. 

Supt Thomas said the force has ‘invested significantly’ in a new system and the previous setup was ‘not fit for purpose’. 

He added the call abandon rate was around 40 per cent last year and is now 21 per cent. and there was now a call back feature.

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Finningley Coun Jane Cox asked for an update on the 101 system and urged clarity on the online reporting process. 

“People are still on hold for 40 minutes one year on from when we last met,” she said. 

“I tell residents that they can use 101 to report crimes online because it’s much easier.

“But I recently had a resident tell me they tried to report online as he witnessed a drug deal outside of his house.

“Every time he put it in it responded by telling him to call 999. I don’t know if that’s a bigger thing that needs to be looked at but is that an 999 emergency if you see a drug deal because I don’t think so.” 

Supt Thomas said: “We did discuss this last year and the year before and I’m sure we’re all aware that the control system South Yorkshire Police was using was about 24 years old and simply wasn’t fit for purpose.

“There will be periods where waits are longer or shorter depending on what time you call. 

“It is significantly better than it was last year because the average was 35 minutes so we are improving and it does need to improve further. 

“People were abandoning the calls because they get fed up – it was about 40 per cent last year but now that figure is around 21 per cent.”