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  1. Public fed up of waiting for someone to answer'. Confusing picture: Callers having to wait switch from 101 to 999 Date - 3rd May 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle Non-emergency callers to the police increasingly fed-up of waiting for someone to answer are dialling 999 instead as they “lose confidence” in the 101 system, a report has warned. Minor offences are being reported on the main emergency number as calls to 101 dipped by almost 675,000 in one year – down three per cent. Figures published by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services show that in 2018 calls had fallen to just over 22 million while at the same time, calls to 999 increased by almost half a million – up five per cent. HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr said the figures suggested people were "losing confidence" in the 101 system – with a decrease in the proportion of respondents who think the police are easy to get hold of in an emergency. He said: "We do our own survey of public perceptions and we think the reason 101 calls have been going down is because the public are getting fed up waiting for someone to answer it and so they call 999 instead, which they have more confidence in." Findings from the HMICFRS inspection came just 24 hours after outgoing Victims' Commissioner said the “failing” 101 service should be overhauled. She set out a blueprint for improving the long waits and charging system causing many people to “give up” on the non-emergency number – demanding those repeatedly affected by anti-social behaviour be given the same entitlement to support as other crime victims. Scathing in her assessment of how the problem was being dealt with by police forces and local councils, she said people are left to "suffer in silence" amid shortcomings in the response by partner agencies and "depressingly little" had changed since her husband Garry was kicked to death by vandals outside their home in 2007. The new HMICFRS inspection covered 14 force areas, with contrasting performances in maintaining confidence in the 101 system. In the West Midlands area, Britain’s largest regional force, calls to 101 were rose almost 8,000 year on year. There was a similar pattern in Greater Manchester with non-emergency calls down almost 100,000 and 999 ones up more than 42,000. Baroness Newlove said the HMICFRS findings “very much echoes what I have been hearing from victims when I have been travelling around the country” of victims hanging on for 40 minutes or longer before they get a response. She added: “Others have just given up or, out of frustration, they escalate to 999. "Victims also tell me they use the line to report issues and then nothing happens. "I want to see the line properly resourced to offer a swift response, to be free of charge and that victims see follow up action. Anything less and it is just window dressing." Former minister Tim Loughton believesthe government should take advantage of Brexit to abolish the charges including the 20 per cent VAT that was collected on 101 calls, arguing that "law-abiding citizens should be encouraged to report crime not penalised financially for it”. View On Police Oracle

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