The Police Service of Northern Ireland has featured in a league table showing how quickly police services in the UK answer 999 calls.

On Tuesday 31st May, as part of the UK Government’s Beating Crime Plan, 999 Performance Data was published for the first time by the Home Office.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland receives over 193,000 999 calls per year. The data which was collated from November 2021 – April 2022 showed that the Police Service of Northern Ireland answers, 999 calls, on average within 9.7 seconds, placing it firmly within the better performing services.  It also reflects that 76% of calls are answered in under 10 seconds for the period measured.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd, National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) Lead for Contact Management, said: “Behind every call is someone who needs the help of police in an emergency or at a time of need and therefore, our aim is to answer each call as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“The 999 Performance Data is helping policing understand the experience of the public from their point of view from the moment they dial 999. We know that there are sometimes lag times in connecting calls to the police and these vary across the country, however this isn’t for a member of public to resolve, it is for us within policing to look at our infrastructure and work with our key partners to improve the experience of a member of public calling 999."

Policing services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland strive to answer 90% of 999 calls within 10 seconds.

“We know there are always improvements that can be made and we will continue to support BT and work together to be as efficient as possible in our call response time and improve the overall experience for members of the public calling 999. This data will inform and strengthen our work to further improve the speed of the service provided to the public.”

Knowing when to call 999 is key, according to Assistant Chief Constable Todd: “We know that most people will call the police in their time of need, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case with prank calls and inappropriate use of the system.  My message to the public is always call 999 if a serious offence is in progress or has just been committed; if there is a threat to someone’s life, or they are in immediate danger or harm, or if property is in danger of being damaged; or if a serious disruption to the public is likely. “If it is less urgent, and a police matter and you are able to, you can report this via our online reporting form on our website or by dialling 101.”