FIGURES show that 7,409 emergency 999 calls were dealt with by the North Yorkshire Force Control Room (FCR) in May 2018.

At one peak time, the FCR answered 61 emergency calls in just 30 minutes.

The figures, released yesterday (Friday) by North Yorkshire Police, show the rising demand being placed on the FCR.

And among genuine calls, the call-handlers have to deal with people calling to say they've missed a train, or to complain their takeaway has closed early.

The number of 999 calls made in May 2018 increased by 17.5 per cent compared with call numbers from the previous month and by 12 per cent from May last year.

Despite this, North Yorkshire Police say, 999 calls made in May 2018 were dealt with by the FCR within an average of 8 seconds.

And it's not only 999 calls where increases have been seen.

North Yorkshire Police say that 20,469 101 non-emergency calls were also received in May, with callers experiencing an average waiting time of 1 minute 55 seconds.

Again a similar increase in volume was seen, with the number of 101 calls rising by 15 per cent on April.

Speaking about the ongoing changes in demand, Charlotte Bloxham, chief inspector for the FCR, said: “Since summer 2017, we have seen a huge increase in the number of calls coming through to the FCR, and these latest figures suggest that demand shows no signs of slowing.

“Taking note of the changing demand picture, we have made some fundamental changes within the FCR, which have allowed us to handle the continuous pull on resources and ensure calls are answered as quickly as possible."

She added that these changes include increasing use of technology, as well as more staff.

“Recruiting more call handlers, improving our auto-switchboard and voice recognition software and introducing an operator and call back service for 101 calls has also paid dividends," she said.

An investment of £3 million from the Police and Crime Commissioner was directed towards the FCR, a recruitment campaign is currently underway, and a newly-built call centre facility is due to be unveiled soon at Fulford Road in York.

Speaking about the future plans, control room manager Jane Larkin said: “We’re here to help the public of North Yorkshire when they need us the most. We fully recognise that responsibility and we are incredibly proud of the level of service we deliver.”

She added: “The public do also have a part to play though, which is to only call 999 in the case of an emergency or immediate threat.

"In the case of non-emergencies, or to pass on information, please use 101.

“Unfortunately we do get instances where people call us to ask for a lift because they have missed their train, or report the fact that their local takeaway has closed early.

"These calls could be preventing a genuine emergency from getting through to us. So please – help us to help you and only dial 999 in an emergency.”