Bedfordshire Police hits back after being ranked as 'slowest force' in country for responding to calls by study

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Superintendent says average wait time is only 4 seconds

Bedfordshire Police has hit back after being named as the slowest police force in the country when it comes to call response time. looked at police data to find the average time it takes for a call to be transferred to each police force in the UK between March 2023 and February 2024. And Bedfordshire Police was ranked as having the slowest call response time, with the average of 30.33 seconds. The slowest mean answer time was in June 2023, at over a minute long – 61.34 seconds.

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But the force has hit back and says the current average wait time is just four seconds.

Bedfordshire police vehicle. Picture: Tony MargiocchiBedfordshire police vehicle. Picture: Tony Margiocchi
Bedfordshire police vehicle. Picture: Tony Margiocchi

The rankings, based on data from, were determined by looking at the mean answer time for calls to be transferred from BT to each police force, as well the total number of calls.

Superintendent Graham Bates, head of public contact at Bedfordshire Police, said: “Our current average wait time is four seconds, with more than 94% of 999 calls being answered within 10 seconds last month. This is a marked improvement from last summer, when we faced unprecedented demand.

“We are committed to making sure we are available for the people who really need us.

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“Over the past year, we have increased staffing levels in our force control room which has enhanced the service we deliver. We also continuously look for ways to improve our systems and processes to meet the evolving needs of our communities.”

He continued: “However, we still need the public’s help in preventing our emergency lines from becoming overwhelmed.

“999 is for when there is a risk to life or safety, or a crime is in progress. In all other cases, we have alternative avenues for reporting, such as our 101 non-emergency line and online services.

“By taking a moment to assess whether a situation is an emergency, callers can help us keep our 999 lines open for anyone in immediate danger or requiring urgent assistance, enabling us to provide an efficient and effective response to those who need it most.”

After Bedfordshire, Wiltshire Police and West Mercia Police were the two next slowest forces when it came to responding to calls.