The Daily Telegraph

Met Police found to be too slow to answer 500,000 urgent calls

- By Charles Hymas and Martin Evans

MORE than half a million calls to the Metropolit­an Police were abandoned last year, a watchdog has revealed.

People hung up on more than a third of 101 calls to report crimes or seek help after delays in Met staff picking up, according to an inspection report published today.

The Met did not answer more than 500,000 calls to 999 in the required 10 seconds – more than a quarter of the two million made a year. The report, by HM Inspectora­te of Constabula­ry, warned crime will rise unless the force tackles “serious” failings in responding to, investigat­ing and recording offences.

Confirming the force was one of six in “special measures”, Matt Parr, the lead inspector, revealed the Met had failed to log more than 69,000 crimes and was letting criminals escape because of inadequate investigat­ions. He added: “Until the force improves how it responds to incidents and increases the capability and supervisio­n of its investigat­ors, it will not be able to sustainabl­y reduce crime.”

The report lays out the scale of the task facing Sir Mark Rowley, the new Met Commission­er, who has pledged to deliver “more trust, less crime and high standards” for London.

This will include more bobbies on the beat, a “ruthless” purge of corrupt officers and reducing neighbourh­ood crime with officers visiting every burglary.

Dame Lynne Owens, Sir Mark’s dep- uty, said they are “determined to renew policing by consent, working with communitie­s to deliver the kind of service Londoners need and deserve”.

She said: “We want to remove as many hurdles as possible to make it easier for hard-working officers to fight crime, deliver justice and support victims.”

The watchdog set a nine-month deadline to speed up its call response times, which were below national standards. Only 63.9 per cent of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds, well below the national 90 per cent target. Some 36.6 per cent of 101 calls were abandoned, more than three times the 10 per cent target.

The report also warned that unless the Met “transforme­d” its command and control centre, up to 50 per cent of the demand by the public placed on it might not be met.

‘Until the force improves how it responds to incidents, it will not be able to sustainabl­y reduce crime’

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