Is centralising emergency service calls a good idea?

Is centralising emergency service calls a good idea? The Northern Territory town of Katherine says the NT Government is ‘letting people down’ as after hour calls to Police are being diverted to a Darwin contact centre, but the NT Government fires back saying it has made Katherine a safer place due to slashing police call answer times.

 

 

Since 2011, calls to police have been transferred automatically to a Darwin contact centre which has improved call answering times. Since the transfers have taken place, in one month, 93% of calls were answered within 10 seconds, with an average wait time of 5 seconds. Previously, only 62% of calls were answered within 10 seconds, with an average wait time of 24 seconds.

But locals aren’t happy:

We are concerned that the current practice of diverting phone calls from remote police stations to a Darwin-based call centre means that people in the local community are unable to directly contact their local police members in time of need. This leads to delays when we try to call police and is hindering us in our efforts to minimise alcohol in the community. We are worried that it is only a matter of time until these delays lead to a serious injury or worse. This is a real community safety issue and it’s just a matter of time before someone dies because local calls aren’t being answered locally.

What are your thoughts? Does improving call answering times by using remote call centre agents outweigh the benefits of speaking directly with the local police station with a slightly longer wait time? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.

Article Source: Katherine Times

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