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999 emergencies must not be left waiting - Farron

March 13, 2017 6:15 PM

999 calls are emergencies and must be treated as such, according to South Lakeland MP Tim Farron. He has uncovered police figures showing that some callers have had to wait well over 3 minutes to get through to Cumbria Police after calling the emergency number, and hundreds of callers have hung up before getting through.

A Freedom of Information request to Cumbria Police by Tim Farron has shown that a worrying number of callers give up after failing to get through. The average time taken to get through to Cumbria Police in 2016 was 5.6 seconds. However, some callers had to wait as long as 3 minutes and 23 seconds before they could get through to a call handler. Last year, 765 calls to the emergency 999 number were abandoned before being answered. This was an increase of more than 50 relative to the previous year.

Tim said: "The public need to have confidence that in an emergency they can get hold of the police. For a distressed caller in an emergency situation to have to wait well over three minutes to get through is simply not good enough. 999 is an emergency number and needs to be treated as such. Local people are being let down.

"It is worrying that hundreds of callers are simply giving up before they manage to get through to anyone. Those callers could have provided vital information to keep our communities safe and tackle crime.

"Last year, 69 police officers and staff were slashed from Cumbria Police. The government must stop cutting the force's funding and make sure they have the resources they need to keep Cumbria safe and respond to local people's concerns."