Police take longer to respond to 999 calls

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has admitted that response times to 999 calls across the whole of London has deteriorated.

In response to questioning from Members of the London Assembly the Mayor has admitted that the answering of 999 calls between 9pm and 6am is often very slow. In July the average time merely to answer a 999 call was 41.6 seconds, in contrast to January when the average time taken for a 999 call to be answered during the night was 30.8 seconds.

The time taken to respond to the most serious calls received by the Met has deteriorated.  999 calls needing “immediate” emergency assistance, such as when there is danger to life or immediate threat of life took a minute longer to be answered in June than in January (the average response time increased from 10 minutes 5 seconds in January 2018 to 11 minutes and 12 seconds in June 2018).

Assembly members found that the Met are comprehensively failing to respond in time to 999 calls which are categorised as “significant”, such as road collisions, incidents of Hate crime and also incidents where there is a genuine concern for somebody’s safety.  In January of this year the average time to respond to “significant” calls was 48 minutes 52 seconds for the whole of London, but by June it had reached an average of 64 minutes and 11 seconds. The target response times for all “significant” calls is within 60 minutes.

Bearing out the anecdotal evidence which I’ve reported on before, from constituents’ comments to Councillor John Todd, Assembly members found that many of the boroughs which have seen a deterioration in their response times are the boroughs such as Hounslow which have been merged with neighbouring boroughs to create new larger Basic Commands Units.

In answer to a question by Caroline Pidgeon, it was revealed that the Met police are regularly redirecting 999 calls they receive over night to other police forces. Over the Summer months (June to August) the Met diverted 2820 emergency 999 calls it received onto  other police forces to handle.
Commenting on the Mayor’s admission of the Met’s failure to answer and respond to so many 999 calls Caroline Pidgeon said:
“The Mayor needs to explain to Londoners why thousands of emergency 999 calls are not being responded to by the Met, but instead being bounced onto other police forces. The severe delays in 999 calls being answered during the night is a very serious concern which the Mayor needs to urgently address.
“Most importantly having rushed through the creation of Basic Command Units the Mayor also needs to provide an account for why they often coincide with a deterioration in response times to 999 calls in many boroughs.”