Police 101 call waiting times down – but still more than seven minutes.

The length of time people are left on hold after ringing the Sussex Police 101 non-emergency number has gone down – but is still more than seven minutes.

At a performance and accountability meeting, Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said the average hold time in September was seven minutes, 31 seconds – a huge drop from the 17 minutes 57 seconds the year before.

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police Crime Commissioner with the NSPCC and students at Moira House School in Eastbourne  (Photo by Jon Rigby)

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police Crime Commissioner with the NSPCC and students at Moira House School in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)

In October, the average was seven minutes, 48 seconds, compared to 20 minutes, 23 seconds the year before.

This was welcome news to Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who for months has fielded frustrated questions from the public and councillors over the state of the service.

DCC Shiner praised the work of her team to get the figures down, adding that the number of people abandoning their calls had also fallen.

In September, 22.5 per cent hung up, compared to 48 per cent the year before, while in October, 22.4 per cent gave up, compared to 50.7 per cent the year before.

Jo Shiner new Deputy Chief Constable for Sussex Police

Jo Shiner new Deputy Chief Constable for Sussex Police

DCC Shiner said some of those people went on to use the online reporting service.

Looking at the total number of 101 calls answered, she said the figures were up by 6,500 and 7,500 in September and October respectively – a total of 217 and 242 calls each day.

She said: “I think that shows that, actually, the public are able to get through to us much more easily.

“There is less waiting time, I’m seeing some positive comments on social media and picking them up when speaking to the public around us being more accessible to them.”

When it came to the volume of online reporting, Sussex was third in the country, behind the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police, receiving 36,195 online contacts in September and October.

DCC Shiner said: “We’ve always been very good at this but it is definitely improving as we go forward.”

Karen Dunn , Local Democracy Reporting Service