Wednesday, 14 November 2007 - 9:52am |

Centralised telephony enhances customer service

2 min read

Telephone calls to most police stations in the Wellington Police District are now being answered at a central point to provide a better customer service for the public and police.

Public callers to all stations and community policing centres in the Wellington District, with the exception of Porirua and Lower Hutt Police Stations, are answered by telephonists at Wellington Central. These two remaining stations are expected to have their calls diverted in the next couple of months.

The change to centralised telephony is a relatively seamless one. The only difference is that general calls to Kapiti, Upper Hutt, Wairarapa police stations, community policing centres Johnsonville and Kilbirnie, and bases such as Karori and Newtown in the Wellington city area are all answered at Wellington Central.

Superintendent Pieri Munro, Wellington District Police Commander, says the move is to ensure calls are answered as quickly and efficiently as possible - and people are put in touch with the relevant police staff. This only applies to general switchboard telephone calls and not to the emergency 111 situations which will continue to be answered by the Central Communications Centre.

"Centralising our general telephony aims to shorten the waiting time for calls to be picked up and to avoid calls bouncing from one extension number to another.

"There's nothing more frustrating than waiting for a call to be answered or being shoved from pillar to post to try and find the relevant police staff member to speak to, especially after hours or in the weekends," says Superintendent Munro.

He says the change is not only better for telephone callers, but it also improves services for people visiting police station front counters or 'watchhouses', especially outside main business hours.

"Police watchhouses are busy places with staff juggling a range of duties. These include telephone reception, answering queries at the front counter from members of the public including crime victims, entering data or responding to requests from the numerous other people who come through our doors each day," he says.

"Reducing some of the extraneous activity in our watchhouse or front counter areas will provide a better and more personalised service for everyone," he says.

Police staff are also being urged to help the telephonists by providing up to date contact details to ensure callers are put through to the appropriate extension numbers.

The change to centralised telephony began in mid September with stations gradually coming on board. "We've had few unexpected problems as our telephonists learn more about their expanded geographical areas, and our callers from Kapiti or Masterton realise they're talking with someone in Wellington and not just down the road.

"It's the same sort of concept that has been used by the Communications Centres for years," he says.

"This is all about police improving our service to the public and improving the public's access to the right police person at the right time."