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Thirty-five minute wait to report Ofo bike theft to police on 101

PUBLISHED: 08:50 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 14 April 2018

A man who chased a suspected OFO bike thief in Norwich claims it took 35 minutes to reach police on 101. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A man who chased a suspected OFO bike thief in Norwich claims it took 35 minutes to reach police on 101. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A man who chased a suspected Ofo bike thief in Norwich claims it took 35 minutes to reach police on 101.

James Laughlin said he called 999 after spotting a woman locking up a “clearly stolen” Ofo bike outside Castle Mall on April 10.

He said the yellow bike’s original lock had been sawn off and phoned police as he believed it was a crime in progress.

But he claims a call handler told him to call 101 as it was not an emergency.

He said: “I duly did this, and had my call answered after approximately 35 minutes of waiting.

“As luck would have it, just as I was speaking to the operator, the miscreants returned and after giving a description of them I gave chase.

“A gentleman, particularly a portly one in tweeds, a bow tie, and a natty hat, never runs.”

Mr Laughlin said he eventually lost the suspect and called back to speak with a control room supervisor.

He claims he was advised that the incident should have been dealt with immediately on 999.

“Had it been done so, I am sure the young lady would have been arrested and the stolen property confiscated,” Mr Laughlin added.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said a copy of the call had been requested so it could be listened back to.

“People should always call 999 if they spot a crime in progress,” the spokesman added.

Police said a constable was sent to the scene and managed to locate both the bike and a 16-year-old girl.

“The [bike’s] locking mechanism was missing so anyone could use it,” the spokesman said.

“It was not stolen as such, because it was not locked up.”

The police spokesman said advice was given to the 16-year-old and enquiries are ongoing.

The incident was reported at around 6.25pm. It was reported to have taken place at 5.45pm.

In the last 12 months, the average time taken to answer 101 calls at Norfolk Constabulary has increased by over a minute to 2mins 45secs - up from a long-term average of 1min 40secs.

But only a third of calls to 101 require a response, police have said.

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