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Friday, November 16, 2007

Who are you going to call?

I am visiting the Cardiff 101 centre, which takes calls on low-level crime, in a few weeks time. This timing is fortuitous as it may well not be there a few months later. The Home Office has announced that it will be cutting funding to the scheme at the end of the financial year. Instead it will divert the money to public protection and national security.

Residents using the call centre can report non-emergency crime, annoyance, anti-social behaviour, as well as problems such as fly-tipping and dumped vehicles. It has taken around 170,000 calls since 2006 and been praised by police chiefs for helping prioritise resources, so officers can concentrate on more urgent and serious crimes. A recent study showed there was a 90% satisfaction rating from residents using the service.

If this service continues it may well divert much-needed resources from policing in South Wales. If it goes then we could see more calls to the 999 number and longer waiting times (if that is possible) for people trying to get through to the police. The government needs to think again.
Peter, may I use your comment space to advertise the Facebook group at http://manchester.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4988374215 and the petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/back101/ opposing these cuts.
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