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Action needed on 101

As a local councillor, I deal with the police a lot in an effort to resolve various incidents that impact on my community. Most of this is informal, but there are also bi-monthly PACT meetings in which the police and local councillors are able to interact with the community.

The recent story about delays in getting through to the police is very familiar to me, therefore. According to reports tens of thousands of callers to the police non-emergency line have hung-up in frustration at long waiting times.

A total of 135,389 calls to Welsh police via 101 were abandoned or redirected last year - almost 14% of all calls. In the South Wales police force area more than 36,600 calls to the 101 line were abandoned in 2017 or redirected.

This is bad enough, as it frustrates people and drives a wedge between the police and the local community. However, it is worse than this as the police use the intelligence they glean from 101 calls to decide how best to utilise their limited resources.

Residents with a long-running problem who have not been able to get through on 101, will either go to their local councillor or speak to the PCSO. But that information may not be fed into the weekly briefings which decide what areas have the most attention paid to them.

This is something that very much needs to be sorted out. It is unacceptable that public confidence in the police should be undermined in this way.

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