Barking and Dagenham 999 response time waits ‘the longest in London’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 October 2018

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured with Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, has come under fire over 999 call response times. Picture: PA IMAGES

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured with Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, has come under fire over 999 call response times. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Archive/PA Images

Barking and Dagenham had the longest response time to 999 calls, figures have revealed.

The numbers show that officers on average took just over two hours between getting a call classed as “significant” – given the second highest priority – and turning up at an incident in the borough in June.

This was the highest time for such calls in the capital and way above the hour laid down by the rules.

London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who uncovered the figures, said: “The severe delays in 999 calls being answered is a very serious concern which [London mayor Sadiq Khan] needs to address.”

Between May and June the response time to the calls – known as “s” grade – doubled. The average response time in February was 62 minutes.

The borough’s police force merged with Redbridge and Havering’s squads in the same month to create a combined basic command unit aimed at cutting costs.

The next month the “s” grade response time leapt up to just over an hour and a half.

Ms Pidgeon said: “Having rushed through the creation of basic command units, the mayor needs to explain why they often coincide with a deterioration in response times.”

A spokesman for the mayor said Sadiq Khan was doing everything he could to protect frontline services under pressure from “reckless” government austerity measures.

He added that “crippling” £1billion government cuts had led to officer numbers dropping below 30,000 in the capital for the first time in more than ten years.

The highest priority calls – known as “i” grade – were within the 15 minute response time limit, according to the figures.

Has being forced to wait for a police response to a 999 call had a serious impact on you? We would like to hear from you if so.

Contact reporter Jon King on 020 8477 3893 or email

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