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Another money saving farce

 by phil , Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:25 pm

New measures designed to make West Midlands Police more efficient have in fact left 999 callers hanging on the line for more than two minutes. Government guidelines state cops should answer 999 calls within 10 seconds.

Police Authority figures show that between January and April last year, the force took longer than two minutes to answer more than 7,000 emergency calls. The situation has become dangerous and alarmed senior management. Every second really does count if you are being attacked.

The force has now resorted to diverting some 999 calls to neighbouring forces including Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia. West Midlands Police has admitted that BT complained about the delays, and says the controversial Programme Paragon restructuring of the force was to blame.

These changes, launched last April in a bid to save £50 million over four years, have come under fire for a series of failings. The force’s call management service underwent a massive upheaval as a result of Paragon, with 21 call centres cut to just 10. Within months, arrest, detection and response rates plummeted.

All 999 calls from landlines are answered in the first instance by BT under an agreement between the firm and the Home Office. Emergency calls from mobiles are picked up by telephone companies other than BT. Callers asking for police help are then diverted to West Midlands Police’s only 999 call centre at Bournville.

BT operators taking the calls found they were waiting longer than two minutes with many calls. They hold the call for two minutes before trying to re-route it to other call centres. But if they’re busy holding on the line, waiting with the caller, they’re not free to take other emergency calls. As part of Paragon, staff at the call centres were given flexible working arrangements, and put on five-day rotas. This resulted in more staff being on a rest day than under the previous system.

Phil


Make Love, Not War

phil

Thread overview

Subject Author Date
Another money saving farce phil Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:25 pm
RE: Another money saving farce Sheldonboy Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:44 pm
RE: Another money saving farce phil Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:09 pm
RE: Another money saving farce Sheldonboy Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:45 pm
 

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