Police urge people to ‘click before you call’ in new campaign
Sarah Lucy Brown
People are being urged to consider alternative online methods of contacting Suffolk police after new figures revealed the force receive more than 575 non-emergency calls every day on average.
Between April 1 and August 31 this year, total calls to the force’s non-emergency 101 number stood at 88,381, working out as 577.65 per day on average over the five-month period.
The statistics also showed the total number of 999 calls received by Suffolk police’s control room was 40,671 – 265.82 per day on average over the same time frame.
The force is now launching its #ClickBeforeYouCall campaign due to the high volume of calls received – particularly at weekends and during holiday times, which it says can impact on waiting times.
Suffolk police is directing people to the force’s website to report non-urgent crime online by clicking the ‘report something’ button.
The force says the matter will be dealt with in the same way as a call to 101 – and may even be quicker and more convenient.
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Chief Inspector Nigel Huddlestone said: “We’re already dealing with lots of enquiries via email and want to continue to encourage more people to consider heading online rather than calling 101.
“While we realise that some people will prefer speaking to us rather than heading to the internet, we want to reassure the public by confirming that all of the online enquiries are dealt with in the same way as a call and residents receive the same level of service.
“We would like to encourage those who are able to report online to try our service as we believe it is not only the most effective means of reporting crime or providing information, but it also creates capacity within the control room and allows us to answer calls from our most vulnerable residents as quickly as possible.
“Some of the calls we receive into the control room are for information or advice only. Most of the answers to these questions can be found on our website.”
Police stressed the online service is available as an alternative to calling 101 for non-emergency matters, and people should always dial 999 in an emergency.
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Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, said: “Times change and the way people choose to communicate changes too, so I am pleased to see the constabulary actively encouraging people to report non-urgent crime online if they prefer to do so.
“So much of our interaction with commercial companies and banks is now online, it makes sense for the police to make this option the first choice for those who prefer to engage electronically. I can assure you, you will receive the same level of service that you’d get if you call – but without the inconvenience of waiting, which is inevitable during busy periods when high volumes of calls are coming through to the control room.
“There has been significant investment in the constabulary’s website over the past couple of years to enable online reporting, the site is also a source of useful information and advice including crime prevention and news updates. If you have not had a look before, please take some time to scroll through – I’m sure you will be impressed.”
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