POLICE in North Yorkshire continue to be overwhelmed by the number of incidents reported to them.

For months, the force has seen an increased number of 999 and 101 calls as part of a nationwide trend, but currently the number of outstanding incidents is more than double the usual amount.

Police officers and staff are being redeployed to deal with the huge increase in live incidents, while members of the public are waiting longer than ever for a follow-up to their calls.

Assistant Chief Constable Phil Cain said the force was "having to work extremely hard to keep on top of the extra demand, but "are on top of the situation".

He said: "We would usually expect to have approximately 200 'live' incidents, but our Force Control Room is currently having to deal with about 500 live matters and that’s a big jump.

"Every call that comes in to us is immediately assessed for threat, risk and harm, and officers are being sent promptly to every prioritised incident, so we are on top of the situation. Nevertheless, on some low-level non-threat incidents, people are waiting longer than usual to see an officer. That isn’t the service we expect - or want - to give in North Yorkshire, so we have redeployed some officers and staff from other parts of our force, to make sure we get the wait time back to normal as soon as possible."

Recently, Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan unveiled a new £500,000 extension to the Force Control Room, as part of £3m investment in call handling following months of complaints from councillors and residents who were left waiting for unreasonable amounts of time while trying to get through to the force.

ACC Cain said the investment "really couldn’t have come soon enough", but the increase in demand "shows no sign of slowing down".

He said: "We’ve recruited extra staff and the new facilities will obviously help, but we are also looking at how we deal with the problem of increased demand in the long term.

"Meanwhile, the message I’d like to give to the public is that we are here to keep you safe, and you should not hesitate to call the police on 999 in an emergency, or 101 if it is not an emergency."

Mrs Mulligan said: "I am concerned about the impact this has had, and have been carefully monitoring how the police have been dealing with this situation and have been working with them to make sure that the public get the right level of service when they need it most."