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Non-Emergency Call Service Officially Launched

Non-Emergency Call Service Officially Launched


New Zealand Police National News Release
5:19pm 23 November 2006

A new way for people in the Auckland City and Bay of Plenty police districts to report non-urgent crime is being officially launched today.

Police are running a demonstration to test the processes and systems involved in taking non-emergency calls (where the caller has dialled a police station rather than 111) coming into the Northern Police Communications Centre from the two districts.

The demonstration will provide the information needed to decide if a single non-emergency number for contacting police and reporting non-urgent crime will be introduced nationwide.

Non-emergency number project leader Superintendent Steve Christian, says stations throughout the two districts were progressively joined to the demonstration call centre from last weekend.

"Everyone's now linked up and we're under way. As at 4pm on Wednesday, we had taken 1,458 calls - 380 from the Bay of Plenty district and 948 from Auckland City.

"So far things are progressing satisfactorily as new staff and callers get to grips with new systems and processes."

Mr Christian says Auckland City and Bay of Plenty residents wanting to report non-urgent matters to the centre should continue to call their local police station.

"All the changes are behind the scenes, so the public should continue to do exactly what they do now and give their local station a call if they have a non-emergency incident to report. The operator will then transfer them through to the call centre."

The centre is dealing with complaints about non-urgent crimes where there is little or no likelihood offenders are still in the area. These include burglary, theft, stolen and abandoned vehicles, vandalism and graffiti.

"We're asking people to save 111 for emergencies. If you have any doubt at all about your safety, 111 is the number to call. If it can wait, call your local police station," Mr Christian says.

Based in the lower level of the Northern Communications Centre in Auckland, the call centre has a staff of 42. It's providing a 24/7 service, with some capability to take crime reports in Maori, Samoan, Mandarin, Cantonese and other languages.

Establishing a non-emergency number was one of the recommendations made by the Independent External Panel that reviewed the operations of the Police Communications Centres last year.

The recommendation was one of the measures the panel proposed to improve the 111 emergency system by reducing the volume of non-urgent calls taken in the Police Communications Centres. Currently non-emergency calls represent around 63% of the 1.7 million calls coming into the three centres each year.

Panel chair, Acting Assistant Commissioner Mick Corboy of New South Wales Police, will be at tomorrow's launch, along with Police Minister Annette King and Commissioner Howard Broad.

The non-emergency call demonstration will run through into next year, with a thorough evaluation beginning in August 2007.

Once that's completed, a decision will be taken on whether to scale up to a national service. It will go ahead only if the demonstration has proved viable and Police districts are ready for it.

Ends

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