18 Oct 2012

More 111 calls exceed two-minute answer time

7:04 am on 18 October 2012

The number of 111 calls that could not be answered immediately by police has been steadily increasing throughout the year.

A major review of the service was sparked by problems identified after Auckland woman Iraena Asher disappeared at Piha in 2004, after having contacted emergency services.

Figures for this year through to August show a steady increase in the numbers of calls that were abandoned.

Calls not answered within two minutes are classed as abandoned and are manually retrieved by Telecom and put back at the front of the 111 queue.

In January 62,400 calls were answered and 88 abandoned.

In August, just over 55,206 calls were answered and 139 abandoned.

The Labour Party says budget cuts mean the police are now stretched, and it's worried the 111 service will continue to erode as a result.