Police forces routinely fail to respond to “life and death” 999 calls within target time, new data shows.
Only one force in the UK – Avon and Somerset Police – is meeting the standard of answering 90% of 999 calls within 10 seconds.
In the six months from November 2021 and April 2022, 43 police forces failed to accomplish this.
Overall, 71 percent of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds.
This is the first time national statistics have been published showing how quickly police forces respond to 999 calls.
Which forces are reacting the slowest?
The worst-performing force was Humberside Police, with only 2% of calls being answered within 10 seconds.
South Yorkshire Police answered 17% of calls within the target, Durham Police 41%, North Yorkshire Police 44% and Gloucestershire Police 49% of calls.
And the fastest?
While Avon and Somerset took the lead, the others came close to the target.
Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire police forces fell well below the norm with 89 per cent.
Police Scotland aims for an average reply time of less than 10 seconds – and recorded 10.1 over this period.
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The Home Office said there were several reasons for the disparities – prank calls, delays in connecting, and improper use of 999 to contact police for non-emergencies.
“The public deserves to know that their local police force will be on the end of the phone, ready to act at seconds’ notice to save them from harm”, Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
She said “calling 999 can literally be a matter of life and death” and releasing the data was about “raising the standards in our unreliable emergency services” to help people “save lives and maintain our roads.” Have full faith in the ability of the police to be “safe”.