Police are reminding people in Sussex to Make the Right Call over the Christmas and New Year period, one of the busiest times of the year for those manning the Sussex Police Contact Centre.
While the majority of the calls are genuine emergencies or issues, not all are matters for the police which means the telephone lines are not being kept free for those who need help most.
Head of the Force Contact, Command and Control Department Chief Superintendent Jo Banks said: “We have worked hard all year to lower waiting times, assess and prioritise information so we can be where we are most needed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that will continue to be the case over the Christmas and New Year period.
“Last month saw further improved average waiting times on our 101 non-emergency number of two minutes and 32 seconds compared with 12 minutes and 25 seconds just two years ago. We continue to remind people that everything that comes into us, whether online or via 101/999, will be assessed and prioritised to ensure that we are responding where there is the greatest risk of harm to life or a crime in progress.
…worked around the clock seven days a week dealing professionally and courteously with the added pressures of a pandemic.Katy Bourne Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
“Our continued priority is to deliver an outstanding service to help us keep our communities safe and feeling safe. So we can respond effectively, we’re asking you to #MakeTheRightCall and to be sure your contact is a policing matter so we can focus our resources on those who genuinely need our help. If your call is not an emergency, and if you have access to go online, you can report crime or seek advice here
Contact officer Carole who is working a ten-hour shift on Boxing Day said: “I am a part timer and last Christmas, I worked a shift up until 2.30pm. I celebrated Christmas in the afternoon with my children and they opened their presents and we had our dinner early evening. My children have grown up knowing the work I do is different to what their friends’ parents might do but they are fine with this. My job is to help people when they need it most and just ask that people only contact us when they genuinely have an emergency or it is a real police matter.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:”The staff and officers in the force contact centre are the first point of contact for most people who need police help and guidance. Over the past nine months they have worked around the clock seven days a week dealing professionally and courteously with the added pressures of a pandemic.
“As we enter the traditionally busier Christmas and New Year period, I echo the calls by our contact handlers and if yours is not an emergency to contact them online or call 101.”