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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Rebecca Black

Police in Northern Ireland answered 76% of 999 calls within 10 seconds

PA Wire

Police in Northern Ireland answered 76% of 999 calls in under 10 seconds, new data shows.

Forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland strive to answer 90% of emergency calls within that time.

However, across the UK only one service – Avon and Somerset Police – was recorded as meeting the standard over the six months to April 2022.

The PSNI’s Contact Management Branch at one of the PSNI’s three contact management centres across Northern Ireland (Rebecca Black/PA) (PA Archive)

This is according to national statistics released for the first time by the Home Office.

The PSNI said it receives more than 193,000 emergency calls a year.

It said the latest figures show it answers 999 calls within 9.7 seconds on average, making it one of the better performing services.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd described a very strong performance.

“It’s very important to us. We understand that when the public have an emergency and want to contact the police that they want their call to be answered quickly and they want the police service to respond quickly so it’s a key operational priority for us as a police service,” he told the PA news agency.

“We deal with a substantial number of calls, people contacting us as a matter of urgency, and our performance in terms of our average call answering time is in the top quarter of the forces in the country, so we’re well towards the top end of the performance across the UK and that just reflects the importance with which we treat this area of business.”

There are a not insignificant number of those calls that are hoax calls or prank calls or an inappropriate use of the system

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd

Mr Todd, who is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for contact management, pointed to a “significant number” of hoax, prank, or inappropriate 999 calls and urged people to use the service responsibly.

“Each and every one of those calls – and there are a significant number of them – makes it harder for us to answer the genuine emergency calls in the time we’d like to do it,” he said.

“So I’d ask people to remind themselves absolutely in an emergency dial 999 to talk to police if that’s what you require, but only use the 999 call and system when it is appropriate and only do when it is right to do so, because that helps us deliver the service to the people who really need it in a crisis or an emergency.”

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