South Yorkshire Police in bid to improve call handling system

South Yorkshire Police's call handling centre in Sheffield
South Yorkshire Police's call handling centre in Sheffield

Police chiefs in South Yorkshire are looking at ways to reduce the amount of time callers spend on hold when they dial 101.

Following complaints from members of the public about the amount of time it can take for calls to be answered, changes are planned.

Extra members of staff are being recruited to answer calls plus the force wants to have more 'online agents' dealing with people who report incidents or pass on information online instead of via the phone.

The force is also exploring the possibility of introducing a call back system to avoid people spending time on hold.

Superintendent Bob Chapman, who is the newly appointed Head of Communications for South Yorkshire Police, said: “There is a significant piece of work being undertaken to look at our current demand and how we revise our service to make it as effective as it can be.

“In a bid to improve our non-emergency response, in the last year we have introduced online reporting and hope to extend this to dedicated online agents in the near future.

“We’re exploring additional channels that the public can use to get in touch with us, including online agents, and we’re making an investment in call technology that will allow people to opt for a call back, rather than waiting in a call queue.

"We’re also carrying out a significant recruitment drive to ensure we match people to the demand on the system.

“This is not an issue that can be fixed overnight and is going to take some time to get right, as we want to ensure we can deliver the most effective service we can.”