Halsall residents are deeply concerned over the police handling of emergency calls by residents using their mobile phones leaving them waiting two hours for a police response.
The incident occurred on 29 November 2015 when a Halsall resident called 999 from their mobile phone to report criminal activity as it was taking place. The first mistake in a catalogue of errors occurred when the call was diverted through to Merseyside Police rather than Lancashire Police. A lack of any response prompted a second call 25 minutes later again from a mobile phone. Merseyside Police once again received the call instead of Lancashire Police. Only when the resident located a different number to call Lancashire Police directly did they reach the correct control room.
From the initial call it took two hours before a police officer responded to the emergency call.
Besides the call being transferred to the wrong force due to Halsall being on the border with Merseyside, it appears Merseyside Police’s initial report to Lancashire Police on the incident was ‘very brief’. This situation was made worse by Lancashire Police failing to send an officer in response to the emergency call they received via Merseyside Police.
MP Rosie has raised residents’ concerns with the Home Secretary along with the Chief Constables of Lancashire and Merseyside Police and seeking action to stop this situation arising in future.
In response to this case, MP Rosie said:
“This was a failure of technology and a failure of procedure that allowed Halsall residents to be terrified for two hours by someone set on breaking into homes and vehicles and attempting to steal people’s possessions.
“Whilst I understand and appreciate that our police forces are under pressure there are no excuses for this situation when information about criminal activity in progress is not being acted upon immediately leaving residents unprotected.
“I have raised questions on this issue with the Home Secretary because in 2016 we have a British astronaut in space but we cannot correctly direct an emergency telephone call, take a message or respond within an appropriate period of time to an incident.
“Residents should be able to feel safe in their homes. They need to have confidence that when they call 999 in an emergency of this nature they will get an emergency response”
MP Rosie will continue to work with Halsall Parish Council and local residents on this issue.