North Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel is calling for a review of the 101 non-emergency phone number to make sure it is fit for purpose.
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 from residents of having spent up to six hours on the phone waiting to speak to someone in the police’s control room. Some residents had either to abandon their call or consider calling the 999 emergency number instead.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Carl Les, chair of the panel and leader of the County Council, said: “The panel has taken a keen interest in the development of the 101 service for some time. While we have been supportive of recent improvements, the recent surge in call volumes requires urgent attention and we will be keeping this under review with the Commissioner over the coming months.”
In response to the concerns, the 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 under way to investigate and to make sure that adequate resource was available.