The Metropolitan Police are regularly redirecting nighttime 999 calls to other police forces, the Mayor of London has admitted in response to questioning by Caroline Pidgeon. Over June, July and August, the Met diverted 2,820 emergency 999 calls to other police forces to handle.
In response to questioning the Mayor has also admitted:
- The answering of 999 calls between 9pm and 6am is often very slow. In July the average time to answer a 999 call between these hours was 41.6 seconds; back in January the average time 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, took a minute longer to be responded to in June than in January (11 minutes 12 seconds in June compared to 10 minutes 5 seconds in January).
- 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.
- A number of boroughs are seeing the response time to “significant” calls well in excess of 60 minutes. In June the average response time was almost 62 minutes in Tower Hamlets, 64 minutes in Ealing, 69 minutes in Richmond, 71 minutes in Waltham Forest, 84 minutes in Bexley, 85 minutes in Merton, 91 minutes in Brent, 98 minutes in Haringey, 105 minutes in Redbridge, 109 minutes in Wandsworth and 111 minutes in in Newham. The borough with the longest response time to 999 calls classed as “significant” was Barking and Dagenham, where in June the average waiting time was over two hours - 120 minutes and 17 seconds.
Many of the boroughs which have seen a deterioration in their response times are the boroughs which have been merged with neighbouring boroughs to create new larger Basic Commands Units.
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.”