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Forces’ social media desks are being used to take pressure off 999 system

A number of digital contact methods have been set up including direct messages on Facebook and Twitter, as well as emails to the control room

In June 2021, South Wales Police received its highest-ever monthly total of 999 calls, at 21,501.

The force’s Public Service Centre has also received more than 29,100 non-emergency calls over the same time period, an average of a further 58 calls an hour.

To help alleviate demand, a number of digital contact methods have been set up including direct messages on Facebook and Twitter, as well as emails to the control room.

Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said: “Our teams of call handlers, digital contact teams, and dispatchers are working incredibly hard, day and night, to be there for people in need.

“Demand so far this summer has been exceptionally high – in June this year we received almost 6,000 more emergency calls than in June 2020, and 3,600 more than in June 2019 – and we are doing what we can to ensure we can prioritise those who require the police’s help in an emergency.

“For those who don’t need to call, our digital desk responds to emails, online crime reports, and social media DMs on a 24/7 basis.”

He added:“Totalling up the total number of calls and digital contacts, we’ve received around 60,000 contacts during the first three weeks of July.

Gwent and South Wales Police have developed a joint digital services division to deliver digital services for both forces including innovations in contact management. 

Gwent Police has a social media desk to offer another way for the public to contact the force.

The force control room is separated into two resources – call handlers and social media desk

The desk reply to messages from the public via Facebook and Twitter which are classed as non-urgent contacts or queries regarding advice.

It deals with around 10,000 contacts a month from the public on social media platforms.

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