1. ITV Report

Call back option for 101 to be offered by Northamptonshire police

Northamptonshire police launches new awareness campaign about the 101 number Credit: ITV News Anglia
  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Graham Stothard

People who call the police with non-emergency calls are to be offered a call back option in a bid to manage call waiting times.

The promise from Northamptonshire police comes as the force aims to answer all 101 calls within 60 seconds. It will then prioritise them according to the level of threat, harm and risk.

Once the call has been assessed, the caller may be offered a call back option to prevent callers waiting for long periods on the phone.

Northamptonshire police control room. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Every year, we take hundreds of thousands of calls into the control room. Not all of these are emergencies and not all of these require an immediate police response. Inevitably what happens is that the queue builds up because everyone is trying to call one central call centre. This can lead to long wait times. We're hoping that this campaign and pledge will better inform people of how long they can expect to wait when they call us and prompt people to think about whether they need to make that call or if it's something that they can do online at their own convenience."

– Supt Ash Tuckley, Northamptonshire police
  • In 2018/19 control room operators answered 280,531 calls to 101
  • Averaging at 1,178 a day
  • 320 calls were 999s
  • On average only 167 crimes were recorded each day

The new campaign aims to also raise awareness about how 101 calls are dealt with and why some may take longer to resolve.

Of 999 calls to be answered within 10 seconds

Calls to 101 are put in to either priority A or B categories.

  • Priority A calls are considered to have a higher level of threat, risk or harm, but are not emergencies.
  • The force aims to answer these calls within 10 minutes.
  • After six minutes, the caller will be offered a call back within three hours.
  • Last year, the average answer time was 2.34 minutes.
  • Priority B calls have a low level of threat, risk and harm and are not emergencies.
  • The force aims or answer these within 15 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, the caller is offered a call back within six hours.
  • Last year, the average answer time was 4.23 minutes.

"This campaign is just the start of a programme that aims to make it easier for people to get in touch with the police. We want people to understand that you may have to wait while urgent matters are dealt with and that some things can quickly and simply be reported online. Then over the coming year we will roll out a programme of initiatives that will ultimately enable people to report issues quickly and simply and in a way that suits them best."

– Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner