People using Gwent Police’s 101 line waited for an average time of two minutes before getting through, but the longest waits were more than an hour.
On average, one in five of all callers hung up the phone before the operators could answer.
It’s led to claims “serious questions” need to be answered.
The 101 line is a way to report a “non-emergency”, leaving the 999 number free for emergency servicies.
There is a set cost of 15p per call, no matter how long you’re on the phone.
In 2018, the average wait time for callers on the Gwent Police 101 line was two minutes and 32 seconds .
And in 2019 the average wait time was two minutes and two seconds .
The Gwent Police 101 line received a total of 219, 597 calls during 2018 from which 42,169 were abandoned calls.
On average, one in five callers hung up the phone before the operators could answer.
The statistics were slightly lower in 2019 due to changes with the organisation of calls.
In 2019 the line received a 215,256 calls from which 21,178 were abandoned callers.
The longest wait time in 2018/19 was one hour and five seconds before being answered, while the longest wait time on an abandoned call was one hour and 23 minutes .
However, these figures improved in 2019/2020 with the longest wait time for answered call being 58 minutes and 12 seconds , and the longest wait time for an abandoned call being 49 minutes and 49 seconds .
What happens after a crime is reported?
Newport Conservative leader, Cllr Matthew Evans, claimed the latest figures, which were revealed following a Freedom of Information request led to “serious questions”.
He said: “I have great respect for the hard working staff based in the Gwent Police control room, however the Police Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert has some serious questions to answer over the statistics revealed in this FOI.
“The public deserve a better service, it’s very concerning.”
Despite the stats, not everyone has had a bad experience.
One resident said: “They have always been fantastic with me, last time I rang them was to mention the lights being off by Tredegar Park roundabout and they were there within three minutes.”
However, another added: “Every time I called them regarding issues around my old flat, it took at least 30 minutes to speak to someone and then nobody ever turned up when promised they would.”
Another said wait times varied, but it was “not usually very quick,” but “that was okay though, I just wanted the incidents to be logged”.
Gwent Police explain that the one hour 23 minute wait (that was abandoned) was made on September 27, 2018 between 2am and 3am. In that hour time period they received nine calls and the average waiting time was three minutes and 28 seconds.
They also added that within the first 60 seconds of a 101 call, information is played to callers which may legitimately cause a call to be abandoned – such as encouraging a caller to dial 999 in an emergency or to visit the website for advice, information and support.
This diversion is one of a number of strategies we employ to reduce demand on 101. However, these would be recorded as abandoned calls.
Superintendent Vicki Townsend said: “We received more than 200,000 calls to our non-emergency 101 service last year.
“We regularly review all demands for our 101 non-emergency service and have made improvements in our call waiting time and call abandonment rate.
“A dedicated social media desk was introduced in December 2018 in the force control room to allow people to report non-urgent crimes or get advice online via Facebook and Twitter.
“A growing number of people are making contact with us through social media; 190,000 messages were received by the Social Media Desk in 2019.
“We are committed to ensuring that our communities are at the heart of everything we do and we are constantly looking at ways in which we can improve our service to the public to become more efficient and most importantly, accessible.
“Gwent Police continues to receive a significant number of enquiries via 101 that are not appropriate.
“We would urge members of the public to think carefully about the most appropriate place for their enquiry, so that our services are available around the clock to those who need it most.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “Gwent Police has invested in its force control room over the last year, decreasing the abandoned call rate to the 101 non-emergency line by almost 50% and significantly reducing the average call waiting times.
“These improvements have been in the face of growing demand for the service and despite the fact that Gwent Police has had 40 per cent real term cuts in government funding since 2010.
“The force is also one of only a small number in the UK to introduce a dedicated social media desk, giving residents the opportunity to report non-urgent crimes online 24 hours a day.
“While we should never be complacent I am reassured that Gwent Police is delivering an efficient service for its residents.”