Published 28 May 2019

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The Policing Minister has singled out Kent Police as an example of how forces can improve their 101 call-handling performance.
 
As the Home Office announced plans to make the non-emergency number free to call, Nick Hurd commented on social media that the move was only part of the journey to improve the public’s experience of non-emergency contact with the police.
 
He added:

‘Next step is delivery of a better, more consistent, 101 service across the country. Kent Police have shown what is possible.’

Kent Police, partly thanks to investment in additional staff by the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, has cut the average time callers spend waiting for a non-emergency 101 call to be answered from around four minutes in spring 2016 when Mr Scott was elected, to just 59 seconds in April 2019.
 
Mr Scott commented:

‘When I became Police and Crime Commissioner, one of the issues which came up time and time again was the public’s frustration with the 101 number. People were unhappy at having to wait long periods for a member of police staff to pick up the phone.
 
‘I raised their concerns with Kent Police and I began receiving regular updates from the force on the levels of demand the force was experiencing. I invested money from council tax last year into additional members of staff to help boost capacity in the Force Control Room and am delighted to hear that call waiting times have reduced significantly since then.
 
‘This improvement has come about without Kent Police compromising on its 999 call handling service, which of course must take precedence over 101.’

According to the latest figures provided to the OPCC, Kent Police received 26,565 calls to 999 last month. Those calls were answered, on average, in nine seconds.
 
A further 36,217 non-emergency calls to 101 were answered, on average, in 59 seconds.
 
Kent Police also now offers the public the option to report non-urgent crimes and road traffic collisions online and provides a live chat option for general, non-urgent enquiries.
 
Mr Scott added:

‘I am pleased that the Policing Minister recognises the great work Kent Police has done to improve its non-emergency contact with the public. I echo his comments – the force has done fantastically well and I pay tribute to everyone involved for showing what can be done.’