The summer demand period for Police communication centres has arrived, with a record number of 111 calls received last month.
Between 21 and 27 November Police received 19,725 calls to 111, the highest number since records began in 2003.
During November, 111 calls exceeded 77,000, the most of any month this year.
This demand is expected to continue with the summer months and holiday period approaching, so Police are asking the public to help by reserving 111 calls for genuine emergencies only.
You should not hesitate to call 111 in any situation where:
- someone is badly injured or in danger;
- there's a serious risk to life or property;
- a crime is being committed and the offenders are still there or have just left;
- you've come across a major public inconvenience, such as trees blocking a highway; or
- any of these things are happening now or have just happened.
Due to the increased pressure on call centres Police acknowledge that people may be experiencing longer wait times than usual.
In periods of high demand callers will hear a pre-recorded message that asks them to remain on the line. Police urge people who are experiencing a genuine emergency to wait for their call to be answered. If you disconnect and try to call again you will go to the back of the queue.
Only around 20% of calls to 111 result in an emergency response.
Examples of the types of non-emergency calls Police receive include; reports of historic crimes, noise and parking complaints.
“It is important for people to remember that while our call takers are answering these non-emergency 111 calls there may be people waiting in line who are in danger or in urgent need of assistance,” says Superintendent Dave Trappitt, National Manager: Communication Centres.
“We know that in a genuine emergency it is an anxious wait for your call to be answered and a delay can exacerbate the situation, so Police are taking a number of steps to manage this,” says Superintendent Trappitt.
“We are recruiting extra staff, with 45 new communicators currently in training who will be qualified before Christmas, seconding staff from other parts of the business, and taking more immediate steps to make call takers available.
“Police’s priority is always the 111 queue, so in times of high demand staff may also be re-deployed from the *555 and crime reporting lines to answer 111 calls.”
There are alternative contacts people can use in a non-emergency situation including:
- *555 for urgent but non-life threatening road incidents.
- Community Roadwatch form - for reporting unsafe or risky driving behaviour
- Your local Police station - you can find the closest station to you here:
- The Mental Health Support Line available 24/7 (text or call) on 1737 or at www.1737.org.nz (link is external)
Issued by Police Media Centre