More efficient handling of 111 calls the goal as new police digital communications centre opens on Kapiti Coast

Kate Nicol-Williams
Source: 1News

Police Minister Stuart Nash is hoping a new digital communications centre on the Kapiti Coast will help police achieve its goal of answering 111 calls quicker.

The Police Digital Services Centre, Te Whare Torotoro Waea Pirihama, was officially opened in Paraparaumu this afternoon by Mr Nash and Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

"This is going to take away a lot of the non-emergency calls so hopefully we can get up to, well I think the aim is 90 (per cent) but we'd like to be close to 100 per cent of all 111 calls answered within 10 seconds," Mr Nash told 1 News.

"It'll take a load off those operators, there’s no doubt about that."

This year's annual report showed 79 per cent of 111 calls were answered within 10 seconds.

Mr Nash said one in five calls to 111 are classed as genuine emergency reports, another one in five are "category two" emergencies and the remaining 60 per cent are not emergency reports.

He said of the 1.9 million calls police receive every year to 111 and local police stations phone numbers combined, more than one million are not emergency calls requiring an immediate response.

Mr Nash said the centre will receive the majority of non-urgent calls made to police stations around the country and will employ 200 workers once the training process is complete.

Next year police will release more reporting tools including a nationwide short-digit number for people to report non-emergency incidents.

The centre is also trialling an online reporting option for lost property and intentional property damage, with 218 reports already being made since the launch on November 22.

A new digital response team will respond within 24 hours.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the leased premises in Paraparaumu means locals can work in the Kapiti community, providing employment for people from Manawatu to Wellington.

"We’re having no trouble recruiting a really high-standard of people, I want to thank those who are already here with us and encourage others to come in," Mr Bush said.

He said the centre is part of ensuring the police changes its public service to be appropriate for everyone by having different communication streams that are professional and timely.

Kapiti Coast mayor K Gurunathan said the multi-million dollar investment in Kapiti from police is in line with projected growth for the region.

"It’s a tremendous vote of confidence… We are in growth mode," Mr Gurunathan said at the opening event.