Lincolnshire Police was ranked among the best forces in the UK at answering 999 calls in new data released by the Home Office.
The time it takes each police force in the UK to answer emergency 999 calls was recently published for the first time ever, in a bid to further improve the speed of the service provided to the public.
On average across the UK, police forces receive a 999 call every three seconds and the new data shows 71% of these are answered within the target of under 10 seconds.
Avon and Somerset Police was the only force in the UK to meet the standard of answering 90% of 999 calls in under 10 seconds. However, Lincolnshire Police was not far behind at 89%.
Humberside Police, whose patch includes Northern Lincolnshire, was ranked as the worst performing force with only 2% of calls answered in under 10 seconds.
The force said that the “data presented does not accurately reflect the call handling performance of 999 calls once these are passed to Humberside Police.”
The first data set covers calls made between November 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022. It shows some forces are consistently responsive, while others require improvement.
There are a range of reasons for disparities and the data is likely to vary each month. Prank calls, a lag time in connecting and inappropriate use of 999 for issues that are not emergencies, can all contribute to delays in answering.
Lincolnshire Police response
Mike Modder-Fitch, from the Force Control Room at Lincolnshire Police, said: “The 999-performance data released today shows, when someone is in immediate danger, in Lincolnshire we answer 999 calls quicker than most other forces in the country.
“Over the last 10 years, the emergency 999 calls we receive have been increasing by around 10% year on year. At points over summer 2021, we were taking over 12,000 999 calls per month. These are never seen levels of demand. This increase is up from an average of around 6,000 calls per month, at peak times 10 years ago.
“The efforts of the FCR team to answer emergency calls cannot be underestimated. They answer some of the most traumatic calls for service that we receive.
“We’d like to recognise their endeavours and the challenges they face to get the details and the police on their way. This level of demand puts extra pressure on our response teams too, with more urgent and priority graded responses.
“We continue to face many challenges and our ambition is to maintain these excellent standards while working to improve our response times when people call 101. We will be recruiting again in September for call takers and welcome enquiries from anyone who would like further details.”
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Comissioner Marc Jones said: “Today’s release of 999 performance figures come as no surprise in Lincolnshire as the force works hard to ensure the public get a consistently high level of service. I wish to say a huge thank you to every member of the force control room team who work tirelessly to deliver exceptional standards on a daily basis.
“With further investments in people and technology to come, residents can be assured that the force are well placed to provide efficient and effective 999, 101 and online contact options for our communities into the future.”
Humberside Police response
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Anderson said: “I welcome any data that enables the public to see how their local force is performing and we are committed to fully supporting this approach.
“However, in this instance, the data presented does not accurately reflect the call handling performance of 999 calls once these are passed to Humberside Police.
“At present, despite representations, this data still includes the whole journey of a 999 call. This starts with a BT operator, and crucially, includes the time taken for them to divert the call to Humberside Police.
“The time this process takes varies significantly across the whole country, and in our region, there are delays of up to 7 seconds for the call to be passed to Humberside Police and this delay is currently included in this data.
“We have raised this issue with the Home Office, and we are now working closely with communications providers to understand why such delays sometimes occur in us being passed the calls.
“Humberside Police have just moved to a state-of-the-art contact and control centre, providing us with one of the UK’s leading Police call centres.
“Once the calls are received by Humberside Police, both 999 and 101 call handling performance remains one of the most timely and effective in the country.”
The data is accessible to the public via www.police.uk, where they can access their local force’s data under the 999 performance data tab. Going forward the data will be released at the end of each month for the previous month.