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Councillor calls for action on 101 police number

July 25, 2017 4:00 PM

Liberal Democrat Councillor Ashley Mason, Vice Chair of the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel is calling for an urgent review of the 101 non-emergency phone number to ensure it is fit for purpose for residents in the North Yorkshire police force area.

At a meeting on 20 July, panel members expressed concerns to the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, about recent poor performance of the service, which can be used to report non-urgent issues to North Yorkshire Police.

Councillors shared reports of residents having spent hours on the phone waiting to speak to someone in the police's control room. Some residents had to either abandon their call or call the 999 emergency number instead.

Councillor Ashley Mason (Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward) said: "The 101 number is the main way local people contact the police to report incidents and give information. It is vital that the service is effective and calls are answered in a timely manner. Residents often talk of their frustration after not being able to get through to report local incidents. The panel will be keeping a close focus on the performance of this service as improvements are much needed."

In response to the concerns, the Police and Crime Commissioner said there had been a spike in call volumes to the 101 service between April and June, with demand rising by up to 20 per cent. She said this was not purely an issue in North Yorkshire but that a similar trend has been seen in police forces nationwide, where calls to the 999 emergency service also rose sharply during this time. The reasons for these increases were currently unclear, but the Commissioner said Chief Constable Dave Jones was taking the issue very seriously, with work underway to investigate and to make sure that adequate resource is available.