Lancashire

Thousands of calls to Lancashire Police's 101 service unanswered

Police call handler Image copyright PA
Image caption Lancashire Police's control room has seen a £1.2m investment to meet "growing demand"

Almost 900,000 calls to Lancashire Constabulary's non-emergency number went unanswered in the last five years, police data has revealed.

Between 2013-14 and 2017-18, over 20% of calls to the 101 service were not picked up, figures sent to the Local Democracy Reporting Service show.

They also showed the average time for a call to be answered was 71.5 seconds.

Lancashire Police said it now had more call handlers and improved ways to report crimes online.

A Freedom of Information request revealed 873,293 calls to 101 were not answered during the five-year period.

'Do more with less'

In 2017-18, 331,254 calls were unanswered, more than double the 164,558 which rang out in the previous year.

On average, the force received 2,365 calls a day to the non-emergency number between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said the "same group of operators deal with both 999 and 101 calls", which meant at times of emergency, there would be a "knock-on effect" and it would take "longer to answer the non-emergency lines".

He added that if a call was not urgent and was not being answered, then the caller should try reporting it via another method or to call back at a less busy time.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said deep public spending cuts meant the police were "having to do more with less at a time of growing demand".

He said the force's control room had seen a £1.2m investment recently, with 50 new staff taken on in 2018.

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