More than 42,000 calls to 101 went unanswered in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 16:30 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 14 June 2019
Tens of thousands of calls to non-emergency 101 went unanswered in Norfolk last year, as police say they are forced to prioritise increasing calls to 999.
Figures from Norfolk Constabulary show 42,119 calls to 101 were abandoned after 30 seconds in 2017/18, compared to 23,456 the year before.
In total, police received 267,210 calls to 101 in 2017/18, which is only a slight increase from the year before when they received 264,914 calls.
In 2017/18, the waiting time for a 101 call to be answered by the police control room averaged at three minutes and six seconds, which is double the time it took in 2016/17 which averaged at one minute and 34 seconds.
Norfolk police said they have experienced a 'significant increase' in 999 calls in the past two years which has impacted the number of 101 calls they can answer.
In 2017/18, they received 98,623 calls to 999 compared to 90,115 in 2016/17 and 88,820 in 2015/16.
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A Norfolk police spokesman said: "101 is a memorable number with most people ringing the police between 9am-6pm, often for matters unrelated to policing.
"With an increased demand for 999, we have to prioritise emergencies and this causes further delays at busy times.
"In addition, our THRIVE (Threat, Harm and Risk) risk assessment means we take longer to deal with calls but we have to ensure we are asking all the right questions so the most appropriate response is given.
"We recognise the challenge some waiting times can cause and we are sorry people have to wait when they call us.
"We know this isn't ideal however we have finite resources and with a backdrop of significant funding challenges for the force and our partner agencies, we try to provide the best service we can."
In the last nine months, the busiest times the force has received 999 calls was between 6pm and 7pm on a Friday. For 101 calls this was between 3pm and 4pm on a Thursday.
Police said they have seen more people report crimes online, In 2017 there were 3,940 crimes reported, 9,110 crimes in 2018 and 4,407 crimes reported in 2019 to end of May.