Devon and Cornwall police call response times improving, but average wait still nearly an hour

Police and crime commissioner, Alison Hernandez admitted work still needs to be done as the average 101 call waiting time is 47 minutes.

Devon and Cornwall Police call response times are getting quicker, but the average wait time for 101 is still nearly an hour.

That was revealed by the police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez, speaking to the force's panel.

She says more than 90% of 999 calls are being answered within 10 seconds and abandoned 101 calls have reduced by 40%.

However she admitted work still needs to be done as the average call waiting time for 101 is 47 minutes.

She said: “We know this is still too long, but two minutes, which is what the public think is right, is unreasonable. We are aiming for 20 minutes waiting time on 101 calls."

She said she had invested “millions of pounds of taxpayers money” into more staff and better technology, but progress had been slow, partly because of the demand on 999 calls which had risen by 25 per cent.

She said: “I have come to the police and crime panel in the past and been embarrassed at what is happening on that phone line, but I am so delighted with the level of effort that has gone into making things better. We are definitely on the right track.”

The introduction of a call back service and a triage service has helped to improve response times, enabling callers to speak to a “human being” within 30 seconds and then get redirected.

In August, Devon and Cornwall Police was the best performing force in the UK for answering 999 calls promptly, and although there were technical issues in September, in October the average waiting time was six seconds.

The force is hoping to reopen more police enquiry offices too.

1,500 people have now visited the 12 police enquiry offices which have reopened across the two counties in the last year and she is looking to reopen four more.

The panel said there needed to be more information about the offices as lots of people still didn’t know about them or what they could use them for, both for reporting crime and getting advice.

Ms Hernandez is asking for suggestions so future offices can be in the right location, as well as where there is most demand as these offices had a lot more potential to take pressure off the call centre.