‘Unprecedented’ demand: police received 70,000 emergency calls over the summer

Devon and Cornwall Police received more than 70,000 emergency calls over the summer – at a time when the population is believed to have peaked at more than 11 million.

Figures released for the period between June and the end of August reveal a further 320,000 101 calls were received and 30,000 emails dealt with.

In addition, there were more than 3,400 ‘web chats’ and the force’s ASK NED non-emergency directory attracted almost 35,000 page views

The force said it recorded almost 72,400 incidents and more than 26,500 crimes. However, recorded crime for the period fell by 4.9 per cent on last year.

More than 4,700 arrests took place and 120 events and high profile visits were policed.

Chief Superintendent Glen Mayhew, head of alliance operations at Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “There is no doubt this has been an incredibly busy summer with unprecedented levels of demand facing our force.

“However, while we have faced this demand with no extra resources, we are being told by the public that their satisfaction rates when contacting 101 are high and that they believe they are getting a good service from the police.

“We have never recorded such high levels of calls for service and we have seen this year the summer period beginning earlier and sustaining throughout June, July and August.

“It is testament to the outstanding work of officers and staff across the force that we have been able to do our utmost to meet demand levels, while maintaining consistently positive feedback from the public.”

Dedicated command for summer period

Throughout the summer the force has held a dedicated command to deal with the challenges summer policing brings in terms of public contact and a population growth of more than 600 per cent at its peak.

Chief Sup. Mayhew added: “We welcome many millions of people into our region over the summer which has a hugely positive effect on the economies of our communities.

“But having the ability to flex our resources to deal with such a peak in demand is at times incredibly challenging at all levels of our organisation.

“Whether this be roads policing, assisting vulnerable people, call handling or maintaining a visible presence in our communities – doing more with less can be very difficult to manage.

“While we have seen arrests rise by some 15 per cent, recorded crime has actually decreased by 4.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.”

Chief Sup. Mayhew pointed out: “We are endeavouring to use technology whenever possible to help us in our daily business. The advent of a new Intelligent Voice Recognition, (IVR) service on 101 and encouraging officers to use mobile devices as effectively as possible has had an impact, but this is certainly an area we would like to see develop.

“All frontline officers also now have the option of using body worn video cameras, so that has also helped us in dealing with such a high volume of demand.

“Ultimately we hope our resident communities and tourists alike have appreciated the incredible efforts of all of our officers and staff to make Devon and Cornwall and safe and secure place for all.”

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