Police budget constraints erode 111 service

National’s erosion of our 111 emergency service is not going unnoticed, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kris Faafoi.

Between 2009 - 2011 call centres received an additional 29,387 emergency calls.

“Police Communications Centres across the country have lost 57 staff since 2009 despite a slower response rate to an increasing number of emergency calls.

“The Government is putting police resources under pressure across the board, but allowing the workload of our 111 respondents to increase, when service is declining, is an oversight.

In 2009 our Police Communications Centres had a staff of 607. By August 2012 that number was down to 550, a drop of 57 staff, or 32 full time equivalents.

“Our 111 emergency service is in demand, but Kiwis are sitting on the line for longer.

 “Our 111 emergency call operators are the definition of ‘frontline staff’. No government with its hands on the wheel would condone fewer resources in this area.

“The statistics for 2012 show the squeeze in resources and decline in service is no anomaly; with figures for August showing only 88.6% of calls were answered within 10 seconds.

“These numbers might seem small, but in an emergency, seconds matter.

“Police communications should be resourced to make progress, not just to make do.

“New Zealanders want to head into 2013 with peace of mind. We want our Police properly resourced from top to bottom, North to South - no excuses.

“Police Minister Anne Tolley should think carefully about Budget 2013 and put our frontline services ahead of her political priorities,” Kris Faafoi said.