Horsham police emergency response time improves

JPCT S12370044X Horsham. Police Station -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT S12370044X Horsham. Police Station -photo by Steve Cobb

The time in which it takes Horsham police to attend emergencies has improved after concerns were raised about response not being quick enough.

It comes after the HMIC report ‘Sussex – response to the funding challenge’ highlighted a decline in the number of emergency and priority calls being dealt with effectively.

Sussex Police does not set response times but it aims to respond within 15 minutes to calls classed as ‘emergency’ (known as Grade 1) and within 60 minutes for calls classed as ‘priority’ (known as Grade 2).

Since April Horsham police attended just less than 65 per cent of emergency calls within 15 minutes.

But after Horsham reviewed its deployment plan the per cent has risen to 77 for the month of October.

Chief inspector Howard Hodges, Horsham district commander, said: “Recent scrutiny has revealed concerns relating to the ability of the police to respond to emergency calls in a timely and effective manner.

“Whilst work is being done to address this at a force level, we at Horsham have reviewed how we deploy our 24/7 responding staff and have produced a deployment plan that seeks to maximise the visibility of our staff at reduce lengthy travelling times to the scene of incidents.

“The policing of 204 sq miles will always be challenging, however all staff at Horsham are committed to providing a quality service and I am pleased to say that these revised plans have already started to bear fruit.”

Sussex Police has lost 300 officers over the last three years as a result of £52m cuts imposed by the government by 2015.

The HMIC report examined whether the force was taking longer to respond to calls for help as a result of changes designed to save money.

Chief inspector Howard Hodges continued: “There are a number of issues being addressed strategically at a force level including technology and call handling.

“At Horsham we have reviewed our deployment plan to ensure that we provide an improved service to the public particularly to the predominantly rural south of our district.

“I am confident that this will continue to improve especially when mobile data and technology is available to all front line officers and staff; freeing up officer time and negating their need to return to a police station to access computers and write up their work.”