Manchester

Cheshire Police 101 call hour-long delays 'unacceptable'

Police enquiry office on a 101 phone call Image copyright PA
Image caption Several UK police forces reported record numbers of calls in summer, with some blaming hot weather

Callers to an "over-stretched" police non-emergency line were left waiting up to an hour due to a spike in demand and staff shortages, a report has found.

Cheshire Constabulary blamed the rise in 101 calls on "prolonged hot weather" over summer, and said many were "not police related".

Acting chief constable Jeanette McCormick said answering times were now "improving".

But Police commissioner David Keane said the delays were "unacceptable".

Mr Keane said the force was facing "a perfect storm of rapidly increasing demand and reduced government funding".

Calls which were not police related were "putting increased pressure on an already over-stretched service", he added.

'Growing concern'

Minutes of a meeting between Mr Keane and police officials show he expressed "growing concern" after his office "received numerous e-mails, some of which were from local MPs, expressing dissatisfaction," over the waiting times.

Several UK police forces reported record numbers of calls in summer, with others also linking the rise to the hot weather.

The force said staff vacancies in its call centre had "almost been filled" after a recruitment and training drive.