A new one stop shop for handling all calls for service, including emergency calls, has been opened by West Yorkshire Police.
Everything is in place to handle the changes which have been in development over the last year.
Based at Force headquarters in Wakefield, the new centre provides a brand new structure for all emergency (999) and non emergency (0845 6060606) calls coming into the Force – over 2.5million calls every year.
Emergency calls are dealt with as they always were, but now, when a caller rings in on the non emergency number, the operator provides them with as much assistance as possible rather than routinely routing them to another part of the Force.
Acting Superintendent Mick Hanks of the Communications Division, said:
Previously, the operator may often just route the call through to the relevant department. Now they will bypass most of the need for that by taking the information themselves and deciding on the appropriate response.
So if a member of the public calls in to report overnight damage to their car then the operator will record the incident, create a crime reference number and offer crime prevention advice where appropriate.
But if the caller is reporting an ongoing crime – so someone damaging their car there and then, the operator will send the call to the local divisional control room for that area to send an officer to the scene.
This will help to increase efficiency and help to further support the front line by taking unnecessary work away from officers and giving them increased time to be out and about in the neighbourhoods.
We have over 200 trained, multiskilled staff covering the phones and have worked out the peak hours of demand and structured our shifts accordingly for maximum efficiency.
The changes have arisen as part of a review of our call handling processes, which identified that callers were frequently passed to different extensions building in some delays and frustrations for some callers.
Where possible callers will now be dealt with at first point of contact for a great many of their enquiries.
With our operators being skilled in all aspects of the calls we receive means that we are able to reduce the time that callers spend in queues, and the number of times they are passed to other extensions.
This in turn will improve the speed of our response to those needing our help.