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The public have a reasonable expectation that if they call the police, their call will be answered. On behalf of the public, PCC John Campion has raised concerns about West Mercia Police’s non-emergency 101 call handling and has sought assurance that there are clear plans in place to deliver sustained improvements for the public.

In a holding to account meeting with the Assistant Chief Constable, PCC John Campion raised his concerns regarding two areas of performance that directly impact the public and have the potential to undermine public confidence in the service. The first being the non-emergency call handling performance for 101 calls in 2020/21, and the second being an increasing trend in un-resourced incidents following the easing of lockdown restrictions from March 2021.

During the meeting, West Mercia Police outlined a plan which will see the force reach its target of answering 80% of non-emergency calls within 30 seconds – it currently stands at 57%. The PCC will receive regular updates to ensure the force are on track to deliver the service improvements. He also sought reassurance that investments made in the force by the public continue to be fully utilised to the best effect for the public. 

Key to improving both concerns will be the embedding of the Local Policing Community Charter, which will make sure that local officers are accessible to local people without the need to contact 101.

PCC John Campion said: “Holding the force to account on concerns like the handling of 101 calls is important for our communities. If someone calls the police, they expect to be able to talk to someone within a reasonable time. They also expect police presence if there has been an incident, or something that warrants attendance.

“I absolutely recognise the sustainable improvements the force has delivered with its 999 emergency call handling, but within this meeting I sought reassurance that the force has plans in place to also improve non-emergency call handling. I have had the personal assurance of the Chief Constable’s team that the force has a clear plan to ensure 80% of non-emergency 101 calls within 30 seconds by the end of the year.

“Ensuring the community is at the heart of policing means I will support and challenge the force to ensure that their plans are delivered and the public get the level of service they rightfully expect from their police force.”

Notes from the holding to account meeting.

Issued on: Thursday 27th May