Uplift in staff confirmed to service increasing demand in control room
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We have recruited an additional 30 staff into our force control room as we continue to face challenges with increasing demand in Staffordshire.
This will see additional call takers deployed to support the growing demand for service which is being experienced across all ten of our local policing areas.
In the month of May alone, two record-breaking days for 999 calls were experienced – and demand is still rising.
Despite these challenges, our average answer times for 999 calls has improved significantly compared to this time last year and we have been carefully reviewing our force command and control structure to make sure the necessary improvements are made to keep up with this unprecedented demand.
Here’s the demand we’ve been servicing recently:
Here’s how we’ve been doing:
We have also made improvements into the quality of self-reported crime and information gathering at the first point of contact – but we still want to be better.
We introduced our triage function in June 2022 to help us keep up with increasing levels of 101 demand.
It is staffed by experienced officers who help to signpost callers to the most appropriate level of service.
Triage officers can signpost people to partner agencies, transfer calls to local officers already dealing with an incident and can also offer a call back service in non-emergency situations.
And on a normal day, this function services around 60% of overall demand and has been reducing call waiting times to our 101 line. When it’s active, it means that more than 50% of calls are dealt with effectively at the very first point of contact and don’t carry through to 101.
With the agreed uplift, we are now in a position to extend our triage operating hours further to provide a more efficient service to members of the public and also take away some of the pressure on our 999 call handlers.
The uplift will also help us staff the control room more effectively. We currently have one of the lowest numbers of call handlers in the country when compared to other police forces with similar demand levels.
Chief Constable Chris Noble said: “Our contact centre is one of the most important functions of our service and the main contact point between our communities and frontline officers in times of emergency.
“We’ve been undertaking a significant amount of hard work to improve our contact performance over the last 12 months in order to keep up with ever increasing demand, but we also recognise that we have to improve and invest effectively if we want to provide the best possible service to victims.
“This investment is a crucial step in the right direction and means that we will have extra staff available during the busiest summer peak in demand.
“We are pleased to be investing in this function and continuing to make improvements to both the service we provide to victims and the resources available to the communities we proudly serve.
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Ben Adams said: “When people call the police, they expect their calls to be answered quickly and for the police to be able to deal effectively with their issues, which is why improving contact is an absolute priority in my police and crime plan.
“The additional council tax contributed by households across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent this year is enabling investment in additional specialist call handlers to further expand the contact centre.”