This website ( is no longer live. For the Northumbria Police homepage, please visit






999 response times - 170/22

Date Responded 01 March 2022

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

Please can you provide me with responses to the following regarding police attendance response times for 999 calls:


1. Please provide the average annual police response time to attend 999 calls categorised as (i) grade 1 emergency, (ii) grade 2, (iii) grade 3, and (iv) all grades, for each year from 2011 up until and including 2021. Please also provide both the total annual number of calls and time taken to attend for each part of the question.


Grades 1 to 3 typically refer to an emergency response, a prompt response and a routine response. Please provide a description of the different grades (including expected response times to attend) used by the force if these differ. An example for GMP is included here:


2. Please provide the total number of occasions that police did not attend i) grade 1, ii) grade 2 or iii) grade 3 emergencies last year (2021).


3. Please provide the longest individual time taken to attend a grade 1 emergency call in 2021.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with both the Corporate Development & Communications Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police however cannot be disclosed for the following reasons.

The information requested is not already held statistically nor is it held in a format that would allow its extraction from recording systems within the permitted 18 hour threshold.

Average annual response times are not held. The number of times police did not attend is not held statistically and this would need to be reviewed from all calls made for 2021.  Likewise point 3.  With tens of thousands of calls to review we have estimated that to extract this information would take well over 18 hours, therefore Section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act would apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00

You should consider this to be a refusal notice under Section 17 of the Act for your request.

When applying Section 12 exemption our duty to assist under Section 16 of the Act would normally entail that we contact you to determine whether it is possible to refine the scope of your request to bring it within the cost limits. However, from the information we have outlined above I see no reasonable way in which we can do so.


Additionally I can advise that the priority grade of a call can be subject to change. There is only a small window for that change to take place on recording systems and if the time limit has been exceeded the new grade will not be reflected in any data.  Because of this any data extracted would be inaccurate.


In terms of the grades  we have I can advise the below.

Grade 1 – emergency response with expected response time of 15 minutes (urban) and 20 minutes (rural)

Grade 2 – priority response with expected response time of 60 minutes

Grade 4 – this is domestic abuse or specialist schedule appointments

Grade 5 – this is resolution without deployment which includes Telephone Investigation Unit


If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.


Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.


The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

back to top