NORTH Yorkshire Police asked the public NOT to contact them with non-emergencies, following yet more problems in the control room.

At about 6.25pm on Wednesday, the force appealed to the public through social media not to call them with issues that did not require an emergency response, as “technical issues” meant the force was unable to accept non-emergency calls.

Hundreds of calls were unable to be answered following the issues, which The Press understands was due to a massive systems failure within the force control room, which left operators taking details using pen and paper, rather than through computers.

Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward apologised for the failure, and said the force's "priority is providing an excellent service to the public"

She said: "Fortunately the issue was resolved in the early hours of 3 August. 999 calls were unaffected as contingency plans came into effect in the form of mutual aid from a neighbouring force - just as North Yorkshire Police do regularly for other forces."

This was not the first time problems have left callers unable to reach police for non-emergency issues. Most recently on July 19, hundreds of 101 calls to North Yorkshire Police were struck by faults which meant that operators and callers were unable to hear each other “sporadically”. The problems lasted throughout the night until about 2.40pm the following day.

Councillor Ashley Mason, who sits on the Police and Crime Panel, said the force was “potentially missing out on vital community intelligence” every time the non-emergency number failed or other problems struck the force control room.

He said: “We can’t have a system where you can’t ring and report incidents, there always has to be some back-up.

“The Police and Crime Panel have been raising issues about 101 for years now, and never seem to get to the bottom of what the issues are, whether staff or technological performance.”

Cllr Mason said the problems happened too often despite ongoing calls for work to be done, and called on the PCC to "produce a very clear plan over the next 12 months as to what work has been undertaken and review the system and what results that will bring".

The Press asked the Police and Crime Commissioner for further details on the problems, what had been done to resolve them, and work going forward to prevent future issues arising. No reply had been received at time of going to press.

Deputy Chief Constable Winward said the latest fault was "a separate issue from the overall increase in call volumes which has affected call handling over the past few months", and though work was underway to improve call handling "these changes won’t happen overnight".