Police are taking more than 18 hours to respond to some urgent 999 calls, new figures reveal
- Forces took average of five-and-a-half hours to respond to Grade 2 calls last year
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Police are taking more than 18 hours to respond to urgent 999 callouts such as burglaries and domestic incidents in some parts of the country, damning new figures reveal.
Forces took an average of five-and-a-half hours to respond to Grade 2 calls last year, the statistics show.
This is up from an average of four hours and 20 minutes in 2021 and just over three hours in 2019.
Grade 2 incidents involve no risk to life but include ‘priority’ situations where an offender has been detained at the scene, where crucial evidence or a witness could be lost and where there is concern for a person’s health and well-being. Most forces aim to respond to them within one hour. The worst-performing force was Gloucestershire Constabulary, which had an average response time for priority calls last year of 18.5 hours.
This was followed by Derbyshire Constabulary (15.1 hours) and Avon and Somerset Police (12.9 hours).
Police across the UK are taking more than 18 hours to respond to urgent 999 callouts such as burglaries and domestic incidents
Of the 19 forces which responded to Freedom of Information requests by the Liberal Democrats, just five had an average response time of within an hour.
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Essex Police took an average of more than six hours to respond to Grade 2 calls.
MPs last night branded the figures ‘disturbing’ and said victims deserved better. The data shows the average response time for Grade 1 emergencies, meaning there is an immediate threat to life, also increased by 10 per cent over four years to an average of 16.5 minutes across the 19 forces last year.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman will confirm, as early as today, the government has hit Boris Johnson’s target to hire 20,000 police officers.
But critics say there are still 8,000 fewer police than in 2010 – when the Tories came to power.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘It’s disturbing that so many victims of crime are being left waiting hours after calling the police, often in extreme distress.’
Earlier this month it was revealed that 22 forces in England and Wales attended just 10,963 of 47,228 car thefts in 2022 or 23 per cent, down from 24.72 per cent in 2021. The Home Office was contacted for comment.
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