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Avon and Somerset praised for the way it addresses heightened control room demand

Avon and Somerset Police has been recognised nationally in a new report focussing on how police forces handle calls from the public.

The review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which looked at police contact management through call handling and control rooms in 2018/19, highlighted the increasing demand and complexity of 999 and 101 calls.

In the report, Avon and Somerset Police was found to perform well in its appreciation of the complexity of demand – in particular, the use of data analytics to devise a complexity score for each area of police activity.

It explains: “Many types of police activity are relatively easy to quantify: anti-social behaviour or other instances of nuisance, for example. Other incidents, such as domestic abuse enquiries, are far more difficult to quantify. In these cases, the force can spend a considerable amount of time working with other organisations to safeguard victims.

“Understanding the complexity of demand allows [Avon and Somerset] to make sure it puts in place the right resources and skills, both now and in the future.”

The report also pointed to the development of alternative ways for the public to make contact, such as reporting shoplifting and road collisions online – resulting in a 15 per cent reduction in call volume.

As well as improving call handling efficiency, it was highlighted that public satisfaction with this digital service is at 96 per cent.

Becky Tipper, who leads the control room, welcomed the report’s findings.

She said: “We are ever conscious of the need for effective contact management, to ensure public confidence and safeguarding of victims. We’re really pleased that HMICFRS has recognised the joined-up approach taken by our in-house digital team and control room to roll out new and improved contact services for citizens.

“This has been reflected in the number of visits we’ve had from forces around the country over the last few years to see what we’re doing in this area. We’ll continue to collaborate with other forces to share our learning, products and insights.”