August 19, 2017
New report praises Somerset Police's handling of 999 and 101 calls

A report by an independent panel of local people working on behalf of Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has found that Avon and Somerset Police answer the vast majority of 999 and 101 calls well.

A panel of 10 volunteers, including three employees from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), visited the police communications department on a recent Friday and Saturday evening for an overview of the department, and to listen to live calls.

The Head of Communications and the Communications Centre Manager were interviewed and the Panel evaluated 90 calls, including 30 calls from unsatisfied callers.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said afterwards: "I hope that local people can take confidence from this assurance exercise. The vast majority of calls were evaluated positively and the panel were impressed when observing the centre operating at peak weekend time."

"There is much evidence to suggest that the communications centre is continually improving the way it manages demand and calls for service. My primary priority is to protect the most vulnerable from harm and this is well-embedded within the communications centre."

Avon and Somerset Constabulary typically receives just under one million calls a year to its 999 and 101 service.

The report shows that the overwhelming majority of calls reviewed received positive feedback from the panel and a high quality service was delivered.

The panel noted the professionalism and breadth of knowledge of the call handling staff, and the calm and sensitive manner in which they carried out their work.

While evaluating the calls 6% presented issues of concern for the panel such as not asking enough questions, showing more empathy to the caller and failing to give advice. These calls have been referred to the communications centre for review for the purposes of organisational learning and individual development. There were also ‘excellent’ examples of call handling in 12% of calls.

The assurance work was carried out in response to concerns expressed by local people over the high levels of demand for the call handling service and increased waiting times for the 101 service. You can read the report here.


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