West Yorkshire's 101 callers waiting up to an HOUR to speak to police
Callers to West Yorkshire Police on the 101 number are waiting up to an hour to speak to an operative, police figures have revealed.
Figures released in a Freedom of Information Act request show one caller waited 61 minutes and 52 seconds for an answer.
The current average answer delay for the non-emergency 101 calls is four minutes and 31 seconds - that's 48 seconds faster than the average for 2018/19.
Online reporting and the Live Chat facility are being pushed by the force to ease pressure from the telephone service and further reducing waiting times.
But with 15% of all 999 and 101 calls made in 2019 not actually appropriate for police, the contact management team have asked public to help them keep waiting times as low as possible.
Tom Donohoe, senior contact manager for West Yorkshire Police, said: "To enable this to happen, and to be maintained, we need the public’s help.
"Many of the calls we receive are either non-police matters, or could have been dealt with in another manner, such as the many on-line options we have on the 'contact us' page of the force website.
"These options, often implemented at the request of callers, Neighbourhood Watch groups or community groups suggestions, offer an easy to use, convenient alternative to the telephone and even those who don’t use online benefit from their existence, as those who do choose to use them clear a space on our phone lines."
The Live Chat is becoming an increasingly popular option for reporting crime, with an average 12,500 contacts on the web chat each month.
There is no queue time for the real time chat with an operator, although it is not a 24/7 service.
The force encourage all 101 callers to consider whether the non-emergency query can be resolved online, or whether it is even a police matter, before they call.
Tom added: "The maximum delays we have experienced in the past are a shade of what they were and average queue times are improving all the time, with often a message on our system indicating how long the potential queue time is, but 25% of callers roughly abandon their call within 60 seconds giving us little time to respond.
"The public can check our twitter site for up to date information, including performance information, travel news and initiatives that the force are running, and most of all to help us to help you."