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The public are being asked to consider using web chat for non-emergency contact with police to help reduce the pressure on call takers and offer people a more modern way to communicate.
In a recent Twitter poll 35% of people said they didn’t know about the force’s web chat function, which is available 24/7 and allows the public to quickly and easily report crimes and intelligence.
Detective Superintendent Mike Branston, head of demand, said: “Over the past six months the Demand Hub has responded to more than 17,000 web chats, with an average response time around 30 seconds meaning it’s the most efficient way to speak with us.
“On average our 101 call handlers answer initial calls quicker, however delays can happen when immediate responses aren’t required.
“Our specialist web chat operators are available around the clock to offer advice, answer questions and raise crime or intelligence reports, often without the wait.
“They have a wealth of knowledge and I’m encouraging the public to think, why not web chat?”
Over the past six months 96% of online users said they would use the force’s online services again, 94% said all of their tasks had been completed and 88% said the online services were easy to use.
Those who are pressed for time, hard of hearing or can’t talk freely can visit the dedicated web chat page or click the green button in the bottom right corner of any page on the force’s website to start a chat with a specialist operator.
“Our 101 call handlers are incredibly busy and during peak periods there can be a waiting time to speak with one unless it’s an emergency. We also know some people prefer to use online contact methods instead of over the phone but may not necessarily realise the police have this facility.
“The only difference between how a call and web chat is handled is the technology being used, however web chats tend to be resolved quicker. Clearly there are some people who do not have access to online facilities and the 101 service is the only option for them but for those who do have web access we would encourage you to consider our webchat service.” added Det Supt Branston.
Alternatively, members of the public can also raise crimes or submit intelligence by using online forms