THE NT Government is claiming Katherine is becoming a safer place due to slashed police call centre answer times.
“I am pleased to report dramatic improvement in the time it takes for Police to answer calls to both triple-zero and the police assistance line in Katherine over recent months,” Chief Minister Adam Giles said on the weekend.
For Triple-zero calls the target is to answer 90 per cent of calls within 10 seconds.
In June last year, only 62 per cent of calls were answered within that time frame in Katherine and the average wait time was 24 seconds.
In March 93 per cent were answered within the time frame and the average answer time was down to just five seconds.
For the police assistance line the goal is to answer 80 per cent of calls within 20 seconds, but in June last year, only 48 per cent of Katherine calls were being answered in that time frame.
Throughout March 88 per cent of Katherine calls to 131 444 were being answered within the set timeframe and the average wait time was just nine seconds.
“It’s an impressive turn-around. Police and call centre staff deserve a pat on the back for driving this change,” Mr Giles said.
But while figures tell a success story, residents across the Katherine region are still concerned that calls to police aren’t being answered locally.
“This is a real community safety issue and it’s just a matter of time before someone dies because local calls aren’t being answered locally."- Willem Westra van Holthe
Since 2011 calls to police are automatically being transferred to the Darwin call centre - which has caused safety concerns in the past.
Prior to the 2012 election the Member for Katherine, Willem Westra van Holthe, made a promise to re-establish a local call centre in Katherine.
“(Even) a number of police officers have spoken to me about the problem and the lack of service being provided in Katherine,” Mr Westra van Holthe said in 2012.
“This is a real community safety issue and it’s just a matter of time before someone dies because local calls aren't being answered locally.
“I have committed in the past and reaffirm that commitment now – if the government is changed in August, local calls will be answered locally,” Mr Westra van Holthe said during his election campaign.
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