Boost to 101 phone service
March 26th, 2015
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is recruiting 10 more call handlers and investing in new equipment in a move to further improve performance of the 101 service.
The move was agreed at a high level meeting this week between the Constabulary and Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright.
The Police Service Centre, where the 101 calls are answered, receives around 30,000 calls a month. Over 90% are answered within the target of 30 seconds with an average pick up time of 5 to 8 seconds. This fast pick-up has been prioritised in order to ensure that all calls are assessed quickly to make sure they are not emergency 999 calls.
Around half the calls can be dealt with immediately. However, half need to be transferred to another member of staff and in these cases there can be a delay during busy periods.
Most transferred calls are dealt with quickly and efficiently with an average wait time in February of 3 minutes 28 seconds. However, some callers have had to wait considerably longer and public dissatisfaction with the 101 service remains one of the most common complaints received by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
In order to overcome delays during peak call periods and to meet public expectation, over £300,000 is being invested in recruiting and training 10 additional members of staff.
Commenting on the decision, Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright, said: “I am well aware from comments made to me by the public that delays in answering 101 calls is a big issue. I consider 101 a front line service and as such people get incredibly frustrated if they want to report a crime but are unable to get through quickly. In response to this I have agreed with the Chief Constable to invest in more staff and new technology in order to help the Police Service Centre better cope with periods of high demand. I would like to pay tribute to the incredible job that the call handlers do, often dealing with difficult situations and under considerable pressure.”
This investment will build on the £60,000 already invested in the new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and the Queuebuster System currently being installed. The Interactive Voice Response system is due to become operational in April 2015 and will be an upgrade to the current model, allowing callers to be routed to their required destination in a more timely and efficient manner. It will include improved options to route calls direct to officers, reducing demand on 101 staff. The Queuebuster System will give callers the option of a ring back whilst retaining their place in the queue.
Detective Superintendent Chris Mead, Head of Contact Management with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “We have put a lot of time into exploring the various options for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Police Service Centre. Through a combination of more staff and new technology, the investment agreed this week will enable us to better meet the public’s expectations when using the 101 service. Being a 101 call handler is a highly skilled job and it takes time to properly train the operatives. While we will begin the recruitment process right away it will take several months to feel the true benefit of the new staff coming through.”
Notes to editors
Media enquiries to:
Charles Kitchin – Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Tel DD: 01954 713906
Mobile: 07809 332291
About The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Sir Graham Bright is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.
Police and Crime Commissioners have responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area. Commissioners set police and crime objectives, the police budget and issue crime and disorder reduction grants through the Police and Crime Plan. Commissioners also hold the police to account, making them answerable to the public.
Further details can be found on the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner website.
Director of Public Engagement and Communications
Office of the Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner
PO BOX 688, Huntingdon, PE29 9LA
Tel DD: 01954 713906
Mobile: 07809 332291
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