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Police call management shows sharp improvement
10:03am Tuesday 3rd December 2013 in News
THE teams who answer Wiltshire Police calls have been praised by Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson as he announces a £1.8m investment in a refurbishment programme.
The programme will bring together the emergency contact centre, centre call handling, crime recording and incident bureau (CRIB) as well as the crime management units from Swindon and Melksham under one roof in a modern control room at Wiltshire Police HQ in Devizes.
The aim is to allow staff to work more efficiently and effectively.
Mr Macpherson has also just praised the teams who answer 999 and 101 calls for a sharp improvement in performance and visited call centre teams with Chief Constable Pat Geenty on Tuesday to congratulate them personally.
A shortage of staff due to a recruitment freeze meant people contacting Wiltshire Police at the end of 2011 and first half of 2012 did not receive an “appropriate standard of customer care”.
Mr Macpherson said: “As the recruitment gaps widened, staff were unable to answer calls quickly, which resulted in a number of complaints from the public. With hindsight, the recruitment freeze to help meet the constabulary’s austerity savings should not have been applied to contact management.”
In July and August last year only 40 per cent of the calls put through to the CRIB were answered within 30 seconds, instead of the required 75 per cent.
Mr Macpherson said: “The demand from the public remained constant but the ban on recruitment placed pressure on the CRIB that hit them hard. The Chief Constable and I took the urgent decision to lift the recruitment ban so management could recruit and train new staff. As a result we have seen performance soar.”
The figures also showed that the percentage of 999 calls answered within ten seconds and the response rate to emergency incidents were both above the national standard for the first six months of this year.
Mr Macpherson said it was very pleasing to see how the central call handlers, dispatchers CRIB staff have turned things around.
Chief Inspector Madeleine Lynch, head of contact management, said: “The staff within contact management are, in my opinion, the unsung heroes of Wiltshire Police. They are exceptional and professional people who work tirelessly to meet the needs of the public. “It is very important to me that we are prompt in answering calls but also that our service offers value to the members of our community. I believe we are achieving this every day.”
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