Revealed: How long does it take West Yorkshire Police to answer your 999 call?

Police say the average time taken to answer 999 calls in West Yorkshire has been slashed by almost half.

From an average answering time of 7.9 seconds in 2014, staff are now picking up distress calls in 4.4 seconds, West Yorkshire Police today revealed.

West Yorkshire Police's Contact Centre in Wakefield.

West Yorkshire Police's Contact Centre in Wakefield.

The improvement of 3.5 seconds on average over the last four years follows a phase of significant investment and new staff recruited at the force's Customer Contact Centre, where 999 calls are handled, in Wakefield.

The force said it handles around 1,000 calls every day of the year to its 999 emergency number.

Tom Donohoe, who runs the centre, said: “The 999 number is perhaps the best known number there is – people who ring it are often facing a life or death situation or reporting an emergency so it is absolutely vital we answer it as quickly as possible.

“In four years we have greatly improved the average time it takes us to get to those vital calls – to improve by 3.5 seconds in four years is remarkable – it might not seem like a long time– but to the caller literally every second counts and this at a time when call volumes have actually increased nationally.

“We handle over 1000 calls to the 999 number every single day of year but we have maintained a consistent and strong improvement in what we do and I am very proud to lead the team.”