Commissioner encourages rural communities to utilise improved 101 service
Published: 25 August 2022
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, is encouraging rural communities to use the 101 non-emergency service to report incidents and ensure their concerns are raised, assuring residents that there has been a significant improvement in call waiting times.
Since taking office in May 2021, a common theme fed back to the Commissioner from the public was their frustration with 101 and the time that it took for some calls to be answered. Some residents reported that they had been left waiting for more than 30 minutes, resulting in callers abandoning the line and not passing information on to the police or calling 999 instead.
The Commissioner and Chief Constable subsequently agreed to invest more in the Force Control Centre and the average wait time has now more than halved from the highs of last summer, to 6 minutes and 26 seconds.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, said:
“I heard the frustrations of Cheshire’s residents regarding 101 waiting times, some of which were simply unacceptable. That is why I raised this with the Chief Constable and we agreed that significant investment was needed.
“The service has now improved dramatically and I would like to encourage Cheshire residents, especially those living in rural communities, to contact their police service with their concerns and non-emergency reports using the 101 service, because the Constabulary is here to support you.”
At a meeting with Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team and the National Farmers Union (NFU) it was highlighted that some residents in the county’s rural communities in particular had concerns regarding 101, and that criminal activity they were experiencing was going unreported.
The Commissioner was keen to highlight the improved 101 service, along with the fact that the time it takes Cheshire Constabulary to attend both emergency and non-emergency incidents has also improved compared to last year.
Cheshire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Sergeant, Robert Simpson, said:
“It is fantastic to see the 101 service times improving like this. Our rural communities really benefit from being able to get their concerns and information to the police in a timely manner, so that we can help them look after rural Cheshire.”
NFU County Advisor, Helen Wainwright, said:
“Farms are once again being heavily targeted by criminals after a short lull during the pandemic, with machinery and fuel theft on the rise.
"Rural crime has huge financial implications for farm businesses, and it also leaves farming families feeling vulnerable, intimated, and in some cases, directly threatened.
“This all comes at a time when the industry is already facing numerous other pressures, not least soaring production costs and challenging weather conditions. It will be reassuring for the farming community in Cheshire to know that significant investment is being put into the 101 service and that improvements are already being seen.”
John Dwyer added:
“I am committed to protecting our rural communities and improving public confidence in policing is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan. Improving the public’s confidence in their police service leads to increased crime reporting which is a huge benefit for everyone as it allows the police to take action, and this can start with just a phone call.
“Great progress has been made so far, and I want to see that continue. My scrutiny process has been a driving force for this by allowing me to hold the Constabulary to account and propel these improvements.”
“I want to ensure that all of those who need the police, no matter the severity of their report, can talk to someone as soon as possible and that the police will be there as soon as possible.”
Residents should always call 999 in an emergency. As well as calling 101 for non-emergency incidents, these can also be reported online here.