Every day at Essex Police our dedicated Force Control Room and Resolution Centre take thousands of calls. Despite the increase of calls into 999 over the last seven months our team have performed above the national average when it comes to how quickly they are answering.
In May the team of dedicated call handers on average had a call wait time of only 6 seconds for 999 calls, which was better than the national average of 12 seconds.
We are unfortunately seeing an increase in people ringing 999 for non-emergency matters, on average around only 20% of the calls we receive are considered to require an emergency response.
We are asking people to consider the appropriateness of their use of the 999 service to ensure we can continue to get an emergency response to those in need.
There are many different ways you can contact us to report non-emergency crime.
By doing so, you are freeing up our call handlers so that they can provide an almost instant response for people who find themselves in a real emergency and need to dial 999.
Calling 999 must be a last resort and you should only use this service if you are reporting an emergency that requires an immediate and urgent police response.
If it is not an emergency and the crime you wish to speak to us about is not happening right now, please do not call 999. Instead, you can report this online, call us on 101 or you can use our online Live Chat service.
On average around 80% of the 999 calls we receive could have been dealt with better using one of these methods, leaving our emergency call takers free to help those who urgently need it.
Our Live Chat service allows people to report non-emergency crime, antisocial behaviour or provide information, by sending and receiving real-time direct messages with our online digital 101 operators.
Live Chat is available on our website Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) between 10am-9pm, and is accessed by selecting the 'Live Chat' button at the bottom right of our website.
The service can be accessed from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or even a mobile phone, making it easier and more convenient for you to contact us.
If you are in a dangerous situation and feel you cannot speak freely to an operator, we can still help you.
If calling from a mobile:
When asked which service you would like, press 55 on the keypad. This will automatically get you transferred to us.
You might then be asked to indicate that you’re still on the line by one of our call handlers, either by coughing, tapping your phone, or, where possible, speaking quietly.
This doesn't allow us to track your location, but we will be able to listen in to what is going on around you and work out how to get help to you.
If calling from a landline:
If you are calling from a landline and replace the handset at any point, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick it up again.
Calling 999 from a landline automatically gives the police information about your location.
We support the 999 BSL service that connects you to British Sign Language interpreters remotely through an app or a web-based platform. They will then relay the conversation with one of our call handlers.
The service launched in June 2022 and is available to download as a smartphone app (iOS and Android) and can be accessed as a web-based platform.
The What3Words app is available to download to your phone and in an emergency could help us locate you faster.
It has divided the world into 3-meter squares and given each square a unique combination of three words. If you are unsure of where you are, we can use this unique combination to pinpoint your exact location and get help to you.
Always call 999 if someone’s life or property is in immediate danger or if there’s a crime in action taking place.
If there is no immediate risk to you, someone else or a property, consider if using one of the other methods would be more suitable.
The persistent misuse of 999 is a crime. You could be putting lives at risk, and we will seek to prosecute persistent offenders.
Our FCR call handlers are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to take your calls and help.
Help us to help you by making sure they are available for those who are in crisis and dealing with an emergency.