New data has revealed that some crime victims in Buckinghamshire have been forced to wait nearly 11 hours for a police call response. 

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to Thames Valley Police by the Liberal Democrat party has revealed that police in Aylesbury Vale take some of the longest times in the UK to respond to 999 calls for Grade 2 priority incidents, which include burglaries, missing person reports and domestic incidents. 

The figures showed that some callers in the region were forced to wait up to 11 hours for a police response.

The Liberal Democrats submitted FOI requests to forces around the UK, with the data obtained from the 28 responsive authorities showing that crime victims are waiting longer and longer for police to arrive, with the average wait time for 2022 reaching 3 hours and 12 minutes, nearly double the 2020 average of 1 hour and 48 minutes. 

Ed Davy, Leader of the Liberal Democrat party, described the data as ‘unforgivable’ and called for a re-investment in community policing with a focus on local crime.

He said: “People deserve a swift response from police when they’ve been the victim of a crime, wherever they are. Yet years of ineffective resourcing of local police forces by the Conservative Party has created a disturbing post-code lottery, with victims left waiting hours on end for an officer to turn up.

“This also means crime victims could be denied justice in the process of putting up with agonising waits. Crucial evidence and witnesses are at risk of being lost during these long wait times – and that’s unforgivable.”

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A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: “We work extremely hard to provide a service that is trusted by all communities, fights crime and values our people.

“Over the past year, there has been a 6 per cent increase in demand volume coming into Thames Valley Police. In 2022/23, the force received 965,581 reports from the public via 999, 101 and our online forms. All of these reports need to be assessed based on the threat, harm and risk and prioritised accordingly.

“Our grade one incidents, which are danger to life, use of, or immediate threat of use of violence, serious injury to a person and/or serious damage to property, or serious road traffic collision, have been responded to within 20 minutes, based on the average between 2020 and 2023.

“It is important to remember that graded response times are prescriptive and highly dependent on many factors. For example, we, Thames Valley Police are the largest non-metropolitan force in the country. The force covers over 2,200 square miles, three counties: Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, and we police the largest strategic road network in the country. Therefore, covering a large geographical area can sometimes present unique challenges because of the distances that need to be covered.

“At this stage, we are working through a review of our local policing areas and while there are no plans to change the location of any of the response bases, moving to a five-area command model will assist with there being officers based across our neighbourhoods, which will help reduce overall response times.”