999 emergencies to police rise to 300 a day
PUBLISHED: 16:09 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:09 22 July 2019
A surge in police recruitment is contributing to pressures on the 999 system, as roads officers are being called on to attend emergencies.
After an overhaul of the policing model in Norfolk there is a backlog of officers awaiting driving training who cannot attend 999 calls.
To combat this, alternative units are being called on to attend, including roads policing officers.
The issue comes under a background of a constantly growing workload.
The number of emergency calls coming into the control room at Wymondham has risen by a quarter in three years.
Response officers are now tasked to more than 300 emergency calls a day, after an increase of 1,500 calls a year.
Under the Norfolk 2020 policing model, 150 PCSO roles were made redundant, replaced with 81 new police officers with 64 PCs, 16 sergeants and a new chief inspector.
59 of the PCSOs faced with redundancy chose to become full police constables, and 97 new staff were hired.
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But the force said this left a shortfall in the percentage of response trained officers, and after a "significant increase" in 999 calls delays have risen.
In a report, the force said: "The increase in 999 calls being received has inevitably resulted in more emergencies for front line attendance.
"The ongoing significant recruitment of new police officers means there is a temporary reduction in the percentage of officers that are response trained in front line roles.
"Work is ongoing with the Constabulary Driver Training team to address this."
"Emergency response incidents are overseen by a trained dispatcher with additional management support where the incident requires it.
"All emergency attendance times are monitored live time and the dispatcher can always consider an alternative unit if a difficulty in resourcing a response in good time is encountered.
"For example, this could mean utilising a specialist unit such as a roads policing resource."
The growth of calls to police comes amid the news that mental health-related incidents dealth with by the police have almost doubled in four years.
We told ealier this month how Norfolk Police are now dealing with an extra 10,000 mental health incidents each year compared with 2014.
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