Record 999 calls as pressure piles on West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police recorded its highest ever number of 999 calls in a 24 hour period – with chiefs attributing the surge to people staying in the region instead of going on holiday.

Dave Thompson, the West Midlands Police Chief Constable
Dave Thompson, the West Midlands Police Chief Constable

The force received a record 2,916 emergency calls on September 25 as it continues to struggle with high demand post-pandemic.

A report to the force's strategic crime board said the reopening of pubs, clubs and bars was a contributory factor, along with people not travelling abroad for holidays and hitting Birmingham city centre on pay day weekends.

Demand also increased as a result of the return of students, the report said.

Last month West Midlands Chief Constable Sir David Thompson announced an inquiry into crime reports after it emerged the number of 999 calls received had exceeded calls to the non-emergency 101 line.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has reiterated his calls for a "fair funding package" for the force.

He said: "In just a 24-hour period the force received nearly 3,000 emergency 999 calls.

"This highlights the huge pressure West Midlands Police are facing.

"With record numbers of 999 calls it is more important than ever that the Government listens and puts in place a fair funding package for West Midlands Police.

"We are still due to be 1,000 officers down on 2010 levels. The Government needs to urgently step in and put funding in place to return West Midlands Police’s 1,000 missing officers."

The strategic crime board report says that tackling "serious violence" is a priority for the force over the coming year.

It says: "A significant factor is the re-emergence of the night time economy post-lockdown.

"The demand in this area especially in Birmingham has increased with potentially people who have not travelled abroad this summer using the city’s entertainment venues especially around pay day weekends with Saturday 25th September seeing WMP take record 999 calls with 2916 in a 24-hour period.

"The demand has also increased with the return of the students to the region and having a double fresher’s period with two full years’ intakes being new to Birmingham nightlife."

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