VILLAGE leaders have challenged the local force’s police and crime commissioner on the effectiveness of the 101 non emergency police number.

John Campion, West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner, was put on the spot and asked questions about the service, which was described as 'a waste of time' at Warndon Parish Council’s meeting on Monday night.

After a presentation on the general service from the police, the commissioner was told about calls not being answered quickly and the reported failure of police to get back to the public.

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The commissioner said: “Sometimes the thin blue line gets stretched very thin and they will prioritise what they do. 999 is the priority. I know at times that means the community don’t feel they get the service they would necessary want (with 101).

“Part of our mission is to give you that better customer feedback.

"My ask would always be if you think the police should know, tell them.

"If it is not an immediate incident be understanding about that. If it is a ‘slow burn’ problem, then work with us to solve it rather than being frustrated. Never be afraid to use 101. I know it doesn’t have the best of reputations all the time, but if it is important to bear with.”

Councillor Ray Morris then said: “The problem is people give up on 101. Because they don’t hear anything from anybody in days, next time it happens they won’t bother. Although we put it regularly in our magazines ‘call 101’ - people say ‘I’m not calling 101, it is a waste of time’. So somehow somebody I guess in a senior position has got to make it clear they take 101 seriously.”

Mr Campion replied: “Well I am pretty senior and I am happy to give you (the assurance) that 101 is a priority for us, in terms of I want to make sure calls are answered, that issues are dealt with, and indeed that we are giving a good service.”

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The PCC said he was disappointed when he heard the community give negative feedback, but without the public’s help crimes would never be solved.

“They (officers) are never going to be successful without your intelligence,” he said.

“Without their support we are never going to solve those issues. During an intense period it might be I would call back at a quieter time.”

During the presentation the PCC also said they were making steps in the right direction on victim support. He said he didn’t feel enough money was spent on the crime prevention side but this was being addressed, and also highlighted that drug use “among the middle classes” was not always considered in tackling the drug issue.