Only 1 UK Police Force Meeting Targets Of Answering 999 Calls

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Only one British police force out of 44 has been meeting its target of answering 90 percent of 999 calls—the equivalent of 911 calls in the United States—within 10 seconds.

Statistics released for the first time by the Home Office show Avon and Somerset Police was the only force that met its target between November 2021 and April this year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the public deserved to know how quick their local police force answered emergency calls and she added: “Fundamentally, publishing this data is about driving up standards in our incredible emergency services even further, so that the public can have every confidence in the police’s ability to save lives and keep our streets safe.”

Humberside Police had the worst record, answering only two percent of 999 calls within 10 seconds and another poor performer was South Yorkshire Police (17 percent).

Police Scotland have a slightly different way of measuring their target—they aim to have a mean answering time of under 10 seconds and fractionally missed that target, with a mean time of 10.1 seconds.

Overall, across the UK, 71 percent of emergency calls were answered within 10 seconds.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for contact management, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, welcomed the publication of the statistics and said: “We want the public to have access to the data as part of policing being open and transparent.”

The Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, Sarah Crew, congratulated the control room staff and said: “Having a fast response time to answering 999 calls is vital, especially when the caller is in distress or the emergency is ongoing. Being able to reassure members of the public that we can answer their call quickly after they dial 999 is a great service and I could not be prouder of our contact centre provision for supporting callers during, what could be, a terrible time.”

The figures come 24 hours after the BBC, using freedom of information requests, reported that police officers in 19 English and Welsh forces were 44 percent slower to attend serious incidents than they were in 2013.

Occasionally 999 calls are released at the end of murder trials—in December 2021 Savannah Brockhill was jailed for life after a fatal assault on her girlfriend’s daughter, Star Hobson. Brockhill rang 999 and gave a false account of how Star suffered her injuries.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.

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