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27th May, 2022

PCC formally held Chief Constable to account over call handling

The POLICE response to 999 and 101 calls will be subject to structured ongoing scrutiny, after the Police and Crime Commissioner formally held the Chief Constable to account.

During the session, the Commissioner welcomed the force’s focus and innovation around recruitment for call handlers, attracting a diverse range of candidates.

This included online Discovery sessions to help applicants through the process.

The public now have more channels than ever to contact the police however it was acknowledged that the addition of a Digital Desk, which handles crime reported online or via social media, does bring about extra demand.

The force will be subject to internal and external scrutiny and will provide quarterly updates to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Commissioner John Campion said “The control room staff are working as hard as possible to deliver the best possible service to our communities, each and every day.

“The public now have the option to contact the police digitally and via social media, and this is a welcome addition allowing the police to be accessible in a way that is more convenient for many people.

“This doesn’t however replace the non-emergency service and I am reassured by the force’s commitment to make improvements. The force’s commitment to recruitment will make a big difference in the service they can provide in the long term, ensuring the public can always access the police as appropriate.”

Emergency demand increased 13% in the most recent quarter, peaking at around 16,000 calls in July, with additional pressures including power outages and misdirected calls putting extra demand on staff.

In a formal holding to account meeting with the Chief Constable tomorrow, the Commissioner will focus on the service, ensuring calls are always being answered in a timely manner.

Commissioner John Campion said: “I’d like to commend the control room staff for their hard and diligent work when faced with a number of challenges. They are the first point of call for people in desperate need, day after day.

“I am pleased to see that West Mercia are working to improve their long term resilience, including looking to over-recruit staff, but there is still a long way to go to ensure they are always doing the very best for the public.

“Emergency calls will always be the priority, but it’s also important that people can access the police in non-emergency situations.

“As Commissioner I will continue to be the voice of communities, and work with the force to ensure the public always get the right help at the right time.”

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