Asbo Hotline Is Jammed By 3,000 Calls

An anti-social behaviour hotline has been jammed with more than three times the usual number of callers. Around 3,000 people dialled Cardiff’s 101 non-emergency line over the weekend, instead of the typical 800.

At a Rhiwbina Partners and Communities Together (Pact) meeting, concerned residents said they spent more than 30 minutes trying to get through. But the problems have partly been attributed to teething problems with a new police computer system called Niche, which was introduced two weeks ago. t also coincides with the launch of a new pilot project seeing the 101 centre take non-emergency calls for a wider area.

Jayne Thomas, a supervisor at 101, said: “We had a very high, unexpected hit this weekend. I apologise for the fact that some people were waiting. It’s not good enough. It was a terrific amount of calls but it was just a blip. It wasn’t caused by any specific major incidents.”

Launched in June last year, the 101 service logs information about vandalism, rowdy behaviour, broken street lighting and abandoned vehicles just in the Cardiff area. Concerns are relayed to the council and police.

But as part of a pilot launched on February 21, residents in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Bridgend and Swansea are now transferred to the 101 line if their police switchboard call is deemed a local authority or lost property issue.

One Rhiwbina resident at the meeting said she could not get through on 101 when she saw youths vandalising her neighbour’s garden. She called the police switchboard and was connected to 101.
She said: “It said there were five calls waiting in front of me. There was no point holding on by then. I gave up.”

Hotline spokeswoman Emma Thomas said the new pilot project aimed to help improve response times for council and lost property issues throughout the South Wales Police force area. She said: “On Tuesday our average time to answer was 17 seconds and 84 per cent of calls were answered in less than 20 seconds.”