Police take 11 hours to answer 999 call
By Craig RobinsonA SHOPKEEPER feels so badly let down by police who took 11 hours to respond to his 999 call for help when confronted by a violent customer that he has decided to close his business.
By Craig Robinson
A SHOPKEEPER feels so badly let down by police who took 11 hours to respond to his 999 call for help when confronted by a violent customer that he has decided to close his business.
Barry Brown did not hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the police's help after a woman customer started “going berserk” and throwing goods around his shop.
He runs the Butt Road Stores in Colchester and, as the town's police station is less than 250 yards away, hoped officers would quickly come to his rescue.
But the police did not arrive, nor did they respond to his second 999 call as the incident worsened and the woman attacked his wife.
Mr Brown even managed to managed to restrain the woman for almost an hour, only to be forced to let her go because no police officer had arrived by the time the store closed at 9pm.
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Police officers finally turned up at his store at 6.50am the following day - 11 hours too late and despite two 999 calls and one visit to the Southway police station.
Mr Brown, 57, said he had been scared for his own safety since the incident and added he would not keep the store open late, operating limited hours until it closed for good next week.
“I feel more than just let down by the police. I don't feel safe. I have decided to close the business after 16 years,” he said.
“I have to be here now 6am until 6pm because I cannot guarantee the safety of my staff. I have had enough, it is just not worth it anymore. There is no point carrying on.
“Over the years I have been assaulted about five times, I've even had my front teeth knocked out, but this is just the last straw.”
Mr Brown's ordeal began shortly before 8pm on May 11 after he confronted a woman whom he suspected of shoplifting.
She started hurling goods around his shop, but left after he dialled 999, only to return with a man and continue the attack.
Members of the public then had to help remove the pair from the store, but the woman came back a third time.
“She went berserk, throwing stuff around the shop. I was scared for the safety of me and my wife,” said Mr Brown.
His wife, Yvonne, 57, suffered scratches to her arm in the attack after the woman leapt over the counter and hit her with a handbag.
Essex Police confirmed that 999 calls had been made and that Mr Brown had visited the station.
Chief Inspector Iain Logan, of Colchester police, said: “Mr Brown has made a written complaint and there will be a full investigation into what happened.”
“We did not provide Mr Brown with an appropriate level of service and there will be an official inquiry into why officers were not dispatched quicker.
“We set high standards for both response and quality of service and is clear that Mr Brown did not receive the level of service that he is entitled to expect.
“However, it has to be said that Colchester police consistently meet their targets with regards to victim satisfaction and are within the top three divisions in the county.”
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Colchester police on 01206 762212.