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Police Defend Emergency Response Times

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:14am 21st May 2014. (Updated at 11:21am 21st May 2014)

Police defend how long it takes them to get to 999 calls in Cornwall and Devon.

Figures seen by Pirate FM seem to show average response times at night have risen by 50% - from six minutes to nine minutes.

But bosses say the statistics are misleading because the average is lower, adding Devon and Cornwall Police continues to do everything possible to meet the challenges of responding to immediate and emergency calls.

The force has issued the following statement on the figures which were disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act:
 
While these figures are part of the FOI response, the disclosure goes on to say that the median average for response times in 2012-13 is between six and seven minutes.

The median average takes into account that a small number of incidents can artificially skew figures, so gives a much more representative reflection of how the Force is responding.

Assistant Chief constable Paul Netherton said: "There is no doubt that responding to incidents with less police officers and staff is a challenge. There is also a trend nationally showing a small rise in response times.

"However, the figures and tone of some media reports are not a fair or accurate reflection of the fantastic efforts police officers and staff make to respond to calls for help in what is one of the largest geographic police forces in the country.

"If anyone calls 999 or 101 we will do everything possible to grade their call appropriately and then give the right response in the right timescales."

ACC Netherton added: "We receive more than one million contacts from the public every year through our contact centres, and face very stiff targets as to how quickly we must answer a call and then respond to it.

"The communities of Devon and Cornwall should be reassured that in the vast majority of cases we meet these targets and get the right resources dispatched to deal with an incident."

Nigel Rabbits from the Police Federation, said: "I think the force is in a very difficult position, because 80 percent of the budget is spent on staff, and if you reduce the budget by twenty percent then it is going to affect staff numbers, and we wonder whether the actual number of police officers is now too low.

"Our members share the same frustration, unfortunately with the continuing reduction in budget it has meant a reduction in the number of police officers, and unfortunately that is now having an impact on frontline services."

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