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Sussex Police admit problems with 101 helpline as callers left on hold
System blunders and too few staff have meant members of the public are left on hold for minutes when they call the police.
Sussex Police confirmed people were experiencing delays when calling non-emergency line 101, which costs 15p for the entire call.
And they admitted these problems could last until the end of the year as they worked to resolve issues.
Members of the public have taken to social media sites to complain about the wait.
Jeremy Strutt said he wanted to report a branch obstructing a roundabout in Washington, near Pulborough, but he was unable to get through.
Chris Servante, who lives in Sompting, wrote on Twitter: “Ok, now ten minutes on 101 at Sussex Police. Are all your advisers on holiday?”
The user Blakers Park said: “Where can we report illegal motor bikes in Stanmer Park? No answer on 101 after long wait.”
Instead of speaking to a human, callers claimed they receive a message which said: “We are experiencing technical problems. Sorry for the delays.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said the teething problems were due to the introduction a new system that would result in all its information in one place.
He added the force was recruiting 33 more call handlers who should have all started their training by the end of October.
A police spokesman said: “The new single system is replacing many different IT systems so that all of our information is in one place. This will help officers and staff to work more efficiently and free up time for more visible policing.
“In addition to the new system, we are seeing high call volumes due to a busy summer period.
“Staff continue to adjust to the new processes, and once the system is fully integrated, we expect an improvement in response times.
“Plans are being implemented as quickly as possible, and we expect to be back on track by the end of the year, but callers may experience longer waiting times over the next couple of months.
“We appreciate that sometimes speaking directly to a person on the phone is the only thing that will do, and we apologise for any delay callers may experience.”
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