'˜Poor 101 service leaving police in the dark on crime'
SENIOR councillors have hit out at the police non-emergency number 101 branding it not fit for purpose.
Criticism of the service emerged when police opposed Gosport Borough Council imposing a banning order at Hardway following reports of yobs on the green.
Although the order went through last week, borough council leader Mark Hook and his deputy Graham Burgess said police did not have the full picture of problems at Hardway because residents were unable to report crimes on 101 as no-one answered.
As reported, a £27m replacement contact management system is set to cost police an extra £3m due to delays. It had been due in earlier this year.
Cllr Burgess said a serious overhaul of 101 is needed, and that police opposed the PSPO (Public Spaces Protection Order) because they didn’t know how big an issue it had become.
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He said: ‘It is the police’s job to maintain law and order, but the 101 system just doesn’t work properly and so people aren’t getting anything out of it.
‘Residents are phoning up with concerns and either not getting through to anyone or not being given a crime reference number to follow things up.
‘The 101 service needs to be improved so that police are aware of the problems and residents have answers to what’s going on.’
As reported, police had said the public spaces protection order was not justified.
Cllr Hook said: ‘The response from the police on the PSPO was disappointing because they know that the 101 number is not fit for purpose.
‘It comes as no surprise that the chief inspector has a different view to us.’
But Hampshire police said the new 999 and 101 system will be in place by late spring. It is a joint project with Thames Valley Police and Microsoft.
The force said in January of this year 81.73 per cent of 101 calls were answered within 60 seconds, while in February this dropped to 76.59 per cent.
Gosport district commander Chief Inspector Sharon Woolrich, said: ‘Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire Constabulary have adopted independent approaches in the assessment of whether the threshold is met for a public spaces protection order in the Hardway area of the town.
‘It is our assessment that the PSPO threshold is not met, which is in line with Home Office guidance. We continue to work with our partners to support residents living in the Hardway area.’