Barking and Dagenham police make changes to stop ‘unacceptable’ response times
- Credit: Archant
Barking and Dagenham’s highest ranked police officer has admitted response times have not been good enough since the tri-borough merger, but believes the force have now corrected the structural errors.
In an exclusive interview Ch Supt Jason Gwillim, head of the East Area Command Unit (EACU), told the Post: “We thought we are not delivering the service we want, we need to change how we do business.
“If you pick up the phone and dial 999 people deserve to have a swift response.”
Statistics released last month showed that since Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham police merged into the single EACU force, one in three priority calls was not being responded to quickly enough.
This was significantly lower than other parts of the capital, where boroughs’ forces had not combined.
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Council leaders wrote to the Mayor of London about the issue, who described the response times as “unacceptable”.
Ch Supt Gwillim explained that this was due to changes in the system in the tri-borough area, and now the EACU was getting back to the levels pre-merger.
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“All in one go, officers from all three boroughs suddenly moved onto one radio channel.
“There was one Inspector covering all three boroughs.”
Response were getting confused, and so targets were getting missed, but on September 4 the EACU went back to having one channel per borough.
“We also thought that was too much work for one Inspector, so we now have one per borough,” Ch Supt Gwillim continued.
And since the changes the results have improved.
Statistics seen by the Post show that since September, immediate call waiting times are almost back to the same as in 2016, and significant call times are higher than they were before the merger.
Ch Supt Gwillim said he is pleased by the flexibility the system gives him as commander.
“We can take resources from other boroughs, and move them to priority areas,” he explained.
He referenced the operations to tackle prostitution in Ilford Lane and moped enabled crime in Dagenham.
“Without the East Area Command Unit we wouldn’t have been able to put the resources in to carry out those operations.”