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Police: Performance Standards

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of the average (a) target and (b) actual police response time to violent crime in (i) urban and (ii) rural areas; and if he will make a statement. (300289)

The Policing Pledge, which was introduced across all police forces in England and Wales at the end of 2008, sets out the minimum standards of service that the public can expect to receive from the police including for response times. Through the Pledge, the police have committed to aim to answer 999 calls within 10 seconds, deploying to emergencies immediately, giving an estimated time of arrival and reaching the incident as safely and as quickly as possible. In urban areas, they aim to arrive within 15 minutes and in rural areas within 20 minutes.

The Home Office does not collect data centrally on average response times to specific crime types. However, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary recently published their report on the current standard of pledge delivery across all police forces. The report notes that

"in responding to calls, forces generally achieve good performance but, in some very rural areas, responding in 20 minutes is challenging".

It is for individual police forces and authorities to ensure delivery of the Policing Pledge in their area. The Government will hold forces to account for progress through the single top-down target we have set them to improve public confidence that crime and anti-social behaviour are being tackled locally, and in the light of inspection work by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.