Avon and Somerset Police fastest at answering 999 calls

Avon and Somerset Police HQ

The police call centre is at HQ in Portishead - Credit: LDRS

When you call 999 your call is answered in just 6.1 seconds, on average.

The time it takes for Avon and Somerset Police call handlers, who answer calls from North Somerset, was revealed as the force was recognised nationally for being well within the Home Office target, of 10 seconds.

The 999 Performance Data, provided by BT, shows the total number of 999 calls received by each organisation on a monthly basis and is the first time figures of this sort have been released to the public.

Avon and Somerset Police topped the tables, taking 22,767 calls in a six-month period, with 15,434 of them being answered in under five seconds, and 5,274 answered in five to 10 seconds.

Chief Constable, Sarah Crew, said: "I want to congratulate the control room for coming first nationally for speed in answering 999 calls. 

"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."

Most Read

The Contact Centre, based at the police headquarters in Portishead, has a team of call handlers receiving both 999 and 101 calls. 

They work in partnership with dispatchers to co-ordinate the organisation’s police resources.

While the 999 answering response is the fastest in the country, this is because it is used as an emergency-only line.   

Head of Command and Control, Becky Tipper, added: "It has been a challenging year with increased 999 demand. 

"The entire control room team have worked extremely hard to ensure we are there for those who call us as quickly as possible.

"999 must be prioritised for those who are in an emergency where life is at risk or offenders are on the scene. 

"For non-emergencies, reports can be made online via our website reporting forms. The website can be accessed 24/7 and is an effective alternative to calling. 

"There is also our 101 for anyone wishing to report non-urgent matters.

"During busier demand periods, there is a call-back option on the 101 non-emergency line, which results in the caller retaining their place in the queue but not being required to stay on the line. 

"By doing this, you are helping us to free up our call handlers to deal with emergency incidents on 999 and will be supporting us in saving lives."

Avon and Somerset PCC, Mark Shelford, added: "Calling 999 can literally be a matter of life and death, so I am delighted that Avon and Somerset Police has been identified as a high performing force.

"It has been a challenging few years and I do not underestimate the commitment from the control room team.

"Local people deserve the very best police service and I hope this news, that Avon and Somerset Police is the fastest force for answering 999 calls, provides reassurance and encouragement for our communities."