999 call delays: 'Officers are struggling from a mental health perspective', says Police Federation

999: 'Something has to give as police officers are struggling, but it can't be safety', says Police Federation

Some 999 calls are dealt within days rather than an hour (Stock image)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Police officers are struggling from a welfare and mental health perspective and "something has to give," but it can't be safety, the Police Federation has said.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has said nearly a quarter of police forces in England and Wales are finding it difficult to deal with emergency calls in a timely way. It has also said forces are taking days to respond to 999 calls which should have been dealt with in just one hour.

Chair of the Police Federation Calum Macleod told Mike Graham police officers are "struggling from a welfare, from a mental health perspective.

"Something has to give and it can’t be the safety of the public and it can’t be the safety of officers."

Currently police have to "prioritise what calls they can attend and when they can attend them" and "you have to take priority over which one is likely to harm life."

Caller Colin, who is a service officer from Newcastle also weighed in and claimed "we’ve got this huge perfect storm. [Officer] numbers are down, crime is up and something has got to give."

He revealed due to paperwork he used ot be able to "deal with two, three prisoners in an eight hour shift, nowadays it takes me one prisoner in an eight hour shift."

But Zoe Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary who led the inspection, said: "Two thirds of police are doing a good job for the public, the last thing we want is for the public to be deterred from calling the police."

She added: "This is not a criticism of those really hard working frontline officers."

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