Responding to pressure from Stockport Labour’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Greater Manchester Police have recruited 30 extra call centre staff and seconded a number of constables and sergeants to help with training so that this does not impact on the current service. This has been further backed by a Motion at Stockport Council’s October Full Council meeting, which set out the Council’s formal concerns on the matter and requests updates on improvements.
Concerns were raised after reports cited drop-off rates to 101 calls as peaking at 23% in June. Stockport residents have further brought up the matter with Councillors at community meetings, citing difficulty getting through.
In response, Cllr Sheila Bailey wrote to Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham in September, alerting him to concerns. Subsequently, Deputy Mayor and Police and Crime Panel Chair Beverly Hughes met with the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, to discuss ways in which the service can be improved.
Assistant Director for Police, Crime and Fire Clare Monaghan has since notified Cllr Bailey of plans to recruit an additional 30 staff to the Operational Communications Branch. The new staff will be trained and supervised by eight sergeants and eight constables so that no resources are taken away from existing lines. GMP also want to bring forward a new online webchat facility which can offer another way for members of the public to contact police.
A Motion noting these developments, citing formal Council concern on the matter and requesting updates on improvements was passed at Stockport Councils October 26th Full Council meeting with cross-chamber support.
Commenting after the vote, Cllr Sheila Bailey, Stockport’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said:
“It is vital both for public assurance and for the work of the Police themselves that the 101 service works as designed and is properly resourced to do so.
“Although this is a non-urgent service, for each lost call the Police lose the opportunity to gather data, provide the public with the assurance they deserve, or worse push call traffic onto the 999 number which should be reserved strictly for emergencies.
“I am pleased to see that GM Police and the Mayor’s Office appear to have taken our concerns seriously, and that Stockport as a Council has come together in one voice on this matter to reflect and represent the valid concerns of the public.”
You can access both the motion cited above and the webcast of the Council meeting here: https://stockport.public-i.tv/core/portal/home