Dates set for Hampshire and Thames Valley police call system

Image source, Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption,
The forces said their old call system was "very out of date"

A £27m computer system aimed at reducing the number of unanswered calls to two police forces is set to be introduced from January.

In the three months to June, 2.1% of 999 calls to Thames Valley Police were unanswered, compared to 1.6% in the same quarter the previous year.

The new specially-designed software instantly brings up data about callers.

It is set to start first in Thames Valley before being switched on in Hampshire in March.

Figures from Hampshire Constabulary show the proportion of abandoned 999 calls rose from 0.9% to 1.6% in the three months to June.

The number of 999 calls in Hampshire between April and June was 63,134, up from 56,146 in the same period in 2016, a 12% rise.

Thames Valley Police saw an increase of 15% in the same time period.

Image source, Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption,
The two forces have experienced a rising number of 999 calls

Ch Supt Christian Bunt, in charge of the project, said it would integrate with police databases for the first time, giving operators instant information on their screens, about the caller, recent crimes in an area and other data.

It will also recommend the most appropriate police resources to deploy, he said.

Craig O'Leary, chairman of Thames Valley Police Federation, said: "It revolutionises the police service... and hopefully it will be a template for other police forces to follow across the country."

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane said system would enable operators to "divert calls faster" and would result in "fewer abandoned calls".

Ch Supt Bunt said the police would also be encouraging more people to contact them online.

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