Police emergency response shows no improvement; Too slow on 16% of cases
Last year the police managed to respond to emergency situations within 15 minutes in 84 percent of cases, according to figures the police announced on Wednesday. That means that the response time was too slow in 16 percent of emergencies, about the same as in 2015. The police's goal is to arrive on time in 90 percent of emergencies.
In total the police responded to 347,603 emergency calls last year, an average of a thousand per day. In the majority of cases the police arrived within 3 to 10 minutes. Again most of the big cities performed better than the sparsely populated areas. In The Hague the police even achieved their goal, arriving on time in 91.9 percent of emergencies. Amsterdam also did pretty well with 85.4 percent. Rotterdam did less well with 80.9 percent. The poor scoring municipalities include Beersel with 65.7 percent, Bergeijk with 59 percent and Goeree-Overflakkee with 55.8 percent.
The police will continue to strive for a 90 percent success rate in the 15 minutes response time, Noord-Nederland police chief Oscar Dros said. "No target is not an option. With that we give people the signal that we do not care about response time. And a achievable standard is too quickly satisfied. We will continue to seek opportunities to improve our times."
In his own unit Dros is investigating what extra investments are necessary to achieve 90 percent on time rate. He found that to be on site within 15 minutes in 90 percent of emergencies, he will have to transfer 500 police officers from other departments to emergency response. "Many other important police duties would be neglected. That is a disproportionate investment." He will continue to look for ways to improve.
He added that many people feel that response times are negatively affected by the closure of many police stations. But this is definitely not the case, he said. "Of course my colleagues sometimes jump up from their coffee or sandwich. But emergency response is always driving around. It must be clear that we aren't always sitting at the station waiting for an emergency call."