Average Response Times For 999 Calls – 287/22

Date Responded 22 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:

For calendar years 2019 up to and including 2021, please provide the average police response times for 999 calls categorised as i) I grade ii) S grade and iii) E grade and broken down by local authority. If you are unable to provide a breakdown by local authority, I would be grateful if you could contact me to discuss how you specify areas. Many thanks.


After we sought clarity on several points of your submission you advised the below:


Where you request “average police response times” we do not hold an overall average or an annual average.  We may be able to provide the raw data behind an average (ie, a table containing each incident and the time taken to respond) if that would suffice?  Yes please


Where you state “999 calls categorised as i) I grade, ii) S grade and iii) E grade”.  Our call grades are numerical, would you like us to still provide this information?  Yes, please provide numerical breakdown.  It would also be really helpful to have the definition of each grade included in the response if possible.


Also, we do not hold data based on local authorities.  We can however provide based on our own sector system, which may approximate such, if this would be acceptable?  That would be great.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held in part by Northumbria Police.


I am able to disclose the located information to you with the following noted.


  • Northumbria Police do not hold average response times.  However, in this instance the force have provided the raw data behind an average.


  • Response time, in this case, has been calculated based on the FWIN time versus the SitRep time (ie, incident confirmed through to arrival.)  Note that as such some of these will relate to a later appointment following the initial incident report.


  • Please note that Northumbria Police have not removed any anomalous results, save for those wherein (for some reason) the call was logged as having been made after an officer attended.  This does mean that there are some very long response times included.  Time has been taken a look through some of these and situations vary from a caller delaying a later appointment to an incident having already resolved itself and an officer attending as a follow-up some time later.  Note that the smallest period of time featured here is a minute.


Please see the document attached, which provides the raw data on response times for the period specified by your request.


With regards Call grade definitions:


As the information you have requested at this point is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for this part of your request.


I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.


Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means


Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.


This information has been asked for previously, disclosed and published on the Northumbria Police Disclosure Log, FOI 170/22 refers and the link to the Log is provided below.



Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete.  However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes.  The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.  As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.


The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.


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.

Average Response Times For 999 Calls – 287/22

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