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Police call handlers praised after busiest day of 2018 so far

27 Apr 2018 14:30 PM

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Temperatures soared last weekend but staff in Northumbria Police's call centre kept their cool on their busiest day of 2018.

Soaring temperatures saw residents flock to the beach to top up their tans or stick in their gardens to fire up a barbecue.

But the warm weather and bright sunshine also led to a spike in calls for service to Northumbria Police's two communications centres.

An increase in anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related offences meant it was all hands to the pump for the Force's call handlers.

And today (Friday) they have been praised by a senior officer who has revealed they still answered 999 calls in TEN SECONDS.

Head of Communications, Chief Superintendent David Felton, said in the 24 hour period on Friday they received 764 emergency 999 calls and 1,609 calls to the 101 number.

The average waiting time for those calling the non-emergency number was also a speedy 42 seconds

He said: "We saw a spike in calls that day in comparison to the previous Friday but that led to it being the busiest day of the year so far.

"It was always going to be a challenge with thousands of people leaving the house to enjoy the sun but our staff were brilliant.

"To answer 999 calls in an average of under ten seconds is very impressive when demand is that high and they did a great job.

"We also saw a huge number of calls to our non-emergency number but due to the hard work of our staff we avoided lengthy waiting times on hold.

"More and more people are using our online reporting forms to report incidents to us and that is something we would encourage.

"You will get the same response filling in this online form as you would do by dialling 101 so it is the best way to report something when we are experiencing high demand.

"A lot of the time people also ring us about things that are not police matters including littering, civil disputes and nuisance parking.

"We would always encourage people to visit our website first where they will find a phone number for the best person to speak to.

"By working together we can reduce demand on our call handlers and ensure that we continue to answer calls in a timely manner.

"The weather is a bit cooler this weekend so we aren't expecting the same level of calls as we did last week.

"However, if we do I know then I know our call handlers are up to the challenge and will continue to offer a friendly and professional service to our local communities."

Figures shows that a third of the calls to the 101 non-emergency number are still being recorded as matters that cannot be dealt with by police.

To assist the public in finding the right person to speak to in the first instance, new pages were created on the Northumbria Police website.

There you can find numbers for people who deal with a range of issues that people would often mistake as being the responsibility of the police.

You can also fill out an online reporting form on the webpage to avoid having to contact police by phone and wait on hold.

The website to search is www.northumbria.police.uk/contact

If you want to report a crime in progress, or an incident where a person or property is at immediate risk, then always dial 999.