As the NZ Police Northern Communications Centre reached its tenth year of operations last month, annual service level figures reveal this could be the best year since detailed records have been kept, despite considerable increases in emergency call demand.
Since 2001, the volume of emergency calls has been increasing. In 2001 North Comms took 250,167 emergency calls and by 2005 this had climbed by almost 130,000 to a total of 376,899.
Over this time service levels (the percentage of emergency calls answered within 10 seconds) have varied from between 74% and 87%. Call demand for 2006 is likely to be even higher but despite this, the current service level is the best yet at 91%.
In 2004 an independent review of the NZ Police Communications Centres was commissioned, led by New South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Mick Corboy, and 61 recommendations were made for improving the way the centres operated. Since the review most of the recommendations have either been implemented or work is under way.
In New Zealand recently to see improvements made since the review, Mr Corboy said he was impressed with progress.
"The time it was taking to answer 111 calls was a real concern when the
panel reviewed the Communications Centres in 2004 and 2005. The world standard is that 90% of emergency calls should be answered within 10 seconds. That's happening all the time in New Zealand now, and I'm very pleased."
North Comms centre manager Superintendent Allan Boreham said the centre had come through some tough times, and staff had shown huge courage and resilience amid scrutiny and criticism to achieve some great results.
"Last week, our service level for 111 calls hit 97% for the second time this year - our best results yet. Compare that to our worst week in February 2005 when we were at 52%, and you can see how far we've come.
"The staff at Police Communications Centres help to save lives and keep the community safe every day and night, and this is just business as usual for them," Superintendent Boreham said.
"I am immensely proud of the improvements that we have made to ensure that our Communications Centres are world class, and we will continue to strive to offer a better service to the community as part of the police response team."
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