CHANGES to the way 999 calls are taken in North Yorkshire have led to a 20-minute improvement in response times, but mean officers are not sent to every incident.

The introduction of the THRIVE system in the force control room sees call handlers assess each incident on six factors – threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability and engagement – to determine whether the victim requires officers and/or forensic teams to attend immediately, or whether an appointment can be made for a visit from officers to take statements or offer advice at a later time.

For example, if a car was reported stolen from the street, police suggest little could be gained from visiting the site immediately, whereas an attempted burglary would mean an officer would be sent to investigate the scene, and advise the resident.

Announced as part of the policing shake-up by Chief Constable Dave Jones and Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan earlier this month, the system has been running since the beginning of April, and the effects of the changes are already being seen.

Chief Inspector Mike Walker of the force control room said: “A lot of people want to report a crime, but don’t see the need to see a police officer. Officers sometimes get frustrated being sent to high volumes of incidents where there’s little chance of catching an offender. What we need to do is save that time and reinvest it in proac - tivity and catching these criminals red-handed and doing community reassurance. What THRIVE will do is allow us to get better at that with the aim of reducing crime and stopping offences happening in the first place.

“Priority grade incidents (requiring attendance), we should attend within 60 minutes. Before THRIVE we were attending, on average, in 64 minutes. That figure is now between 45 and 50 minutes, which is a significant reduction in attendance time. That means we have focused our attention on victims that need us most, and we get to them quicker.”

Chief Insp Walker said operators were spending a “negligible”

amount of extra time on the phone, and had been trained to collect information which may have previously been collected by an officer at the scene.

He said: “So far it’s showing we deal with an extra ten per cent of crime within the control room without sending an officer to the scene. Those are crimes with no investigative leads. That frees up 7,500 hours a year which equates to 20 hours a day, and that’s 20 hours we can invest in prevention, productivity, and community reassurance.”