THOUSANDS of calls to the police’s non-emergency 101 number from the region are going unanswered every month, damning figures have revealed.
It has also emerged that people in Burton are among callers being made to wait the longest before their problem is dealt with.
Staffordshire Police was one of six forces in the country which was revealed to be failing under the expected time period for answering calls.
The 101 non-emergency number was rolled out across the country in October 2011, in an attempt to lift some of the pressure from call centre staff handling genuine emergencies on 999.
But standards fell dramatically in the first 12 months since the service was set up.
In October 2012, the most recent figures provided, the average waiting time for people calling 101 in Staffordshire was 50.9 seconds, with the speed in which calls were answered declining rapidly on the previous year when the service was launched – then the average answer time was 16 seconds.
There were also 3,122 calls which went unanswered in October 2012.
Derbyshire Police revealed its figures for unanswered calls from both of its non-emergency numbers, 0345 and 101, jointly.
In October 2012, 4,330 calls to those numbers were not answered.
However, of the calls which were answered in Derbyshire, people were waiting on average 22 seconds, within the 30-second target.
Superintendent Dave Forrest, head of operational services for Staffordshire Police, said: “We always aim to answer calls as quickly as possible and have a target of answering 999 emergency calls within 10 seconds and 101 non-emergency calls within 30 seconds.
“We’ve been working hard over the last few months to reduce the average time it takes to answer 101 calls which is reflected in our current year-to-date figure of just over 40 seconds.”