More 999 calls are being answered in Suffolk within 10 seconds as a result of increasing council tax last year say police bosses.

Of all 999 calls received, 82% of calls to Suffolk Constabulary were answered within 10 seconds in 2023, compared to 78% in 2022, according to Police.UK figure.

Council taxes were hiked in the county in the 2022/23 financial year, to fund a £1.4 million investment into police call centres with the recruitment of 27 additional call takers and four police offers.

Police forces across the UK saw improvements in call handling with a 10.4% increase in the proportion of emergency calls answered within the 10 seconds target from 2022 to 2023.

East Anglian Daily Times: Assistant Chief Constable Eamonn Bridger. Assistant Chief Constable Eamonn Bridger.

Assistant Chief Constable Eamonn Bridger said: “We know how important it is to answer a call as quickly as possible and we remain on a great trajectory for the year ahead as we continue to work to improve our performance month on month.

“In addition to our staff uplift, we have also made changes to our internal policies and processes to improve efficiencies to our call handling to both our emergency and non-emergency response and, this spring, we will be developing our digital team within the CCR to enhance online communication, thanks to the continued investment from the police and crime commissioner.”

The need for significant investment in staffing and call centre technology was highlighted in a report in October that found Suffolk police was inadequate at responding to the public.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service’s October inspection criticised the control room as understaffed.

But, the Assistant Chief Constable insists that investment in alternative ways to contact the police including social media, Live Chats and the Single Online Home website for online reporting, is working.

ACC Bridger said: “Our investment in technology will ensure that Suffolk Constabulary is more accessible for - and to - all members of the public, including those who are hard of hearing or speech impaired, and for those where English is not their first language as Live Chat auto-translates up to 100 different languages.”

The force saw a 6% increase in the number of 999 calls received between 2022 and 2023, and a 30% increase from 2019.

However, the number of non-emergency 101 calls received fell by 5%.

East Anglian Daily Times: Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore. (Image: Newsquest)

Suffolk Constabulary’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Suffolk’s control room performance has improved enormously – which is great news for us all.

“Better communication is raised with me on numerous occasions. These improvements will play a major role in keeping crime levels down benefitting all homes and businesses across our county.”