Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has written his latest Argus column. He says:

I WAS recently part of a public meeting in Beaufort to discuss traffic problems and dangerous driving, when the issue of the police 101 service was raised.

The public perception that the 101 service is not up to scratch is something I have been hearing for a while and I was already looking into the issue prior to this meeting.

Last month I met with Gwent Police Chief Constable Julian Williams in Parliament to raise the main concerns I have heard - the time it takes for a call to be answered, the amount of calls being abandoned and the sense that little action is taken following a call.

I understand that the police have been working hard to improve the service and data I have seen does show this.

In October 78.1 per cent of total calls were answered with an average waiting time of three minutes, three seconds, and then in December 89.1 per cent of total calls were answered, with an average wait of one minute, 26 seconds.


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Although this is a big improvement the waiting time is still too long and important calls may be being abandoned.

I will be pushing for updates on what is being done to continue these improvements and I hope to see further good results.

Encouragingly, I also understand that Gwent Police have introduced a new dedicated 24/7 multimedia desk, which means that sending non-urgent queries via email or direct message on social media will be a more effective way of communicating with the police – not least in that it allows photographs to be sent where appropriate.

Going back to the public meeting, I think the most important message that came from the police in attendance was to not be discouraged by a perceived lack of action as a result of a 101 call.

I was told that officers use the data from these calls to inform their actions in the long term.

I want to see the 101 service improved, but I also want to reiterate how important it is to log your calls in order that, when it comes to calling for action over trouble hotspots, the data backs up the strength of feeling.