In recent weeks we have experienced high periods of demand on the 101 service which means that people have been waiting longer than normal during peak times.
This is a national issue that many other forces are also experiencing but we are pleased to report that the picture has improved in Cheshire.
There were a number of reasons behind the increase in demand including the unexpected and prolonged hot weather, repeat calls and the public's understanding about when to ring 101.
A lot of the demand is being driven by the public requesting information or asking for help with issues that the police do not actually deal with such as noise nuisance, dog fouling and fly tipping and these can be addressed by other agencies — including local authorities and housing associations.
It is important for people to know that when they do need to speak to the police about a non-emergency issue there are better ways of getting in touch without having to pick up the phone.
Although the situation has improved we would like to take the opportunity to highlight the range of options that are available which may provide a quicker and more efficient service than calling 101.
Face-to-Face — Visit your local police station/helpdesk or speak to your local Police Community Support Officer. Cheshire has a dedicated PCSO in every ward across the county. They are a vital part of policing and an important connection between the force and local communities providing a familiar face as a point of contact. Details of surgeries are available via the Cheshire Police website.
General Contact Form — If you have a general query, are seeking advice or, for example, want to notify the police of a planned event. Go to www.cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries
Contact an Officer Form — This is a quicker way to request to speak to a named officer allocated to your case and is useful for when officers are not on duty. Go to www.cheshire.police.uk/contact/contact-an-officer
Incident Update Form — If you want to request an update on an incident go to www.cheshire.police.uk/contact/incident-update-form
Local Priorities Form — To report an ongoing issue in your area that you want to highlight as needing action go to www.cheshire.police.uk/local-policing
Speeding Issues — For reporting issues with speeding drivers go to www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/roads-and-vehicle-safety/speeding
Other Agencies — Your local authority or housing association deals with issues including noise nuisance, dog fouling and fly tipping.
We are making a concerted effort to educate the public to ensure they know that many of their issues can be dealt with more effectively in other ways and it is not always necessary to pick up the phone and call 101.
In some cases 101 will be the best option and we will continue to inform people of when it is appropriate to use 101 to give the public a more efficient service and to allow us to deal effectively with crime.
The 101 number should be used to report a crime that has already taken place or to pass on information about a crime. The public should always call 999 where there is a threat to life or a crime is in progress.