Twenty-two per cent of the 999 emergency incidents in Cheshire not reached by police within 20 minutes were in Chester.
Figures for Cheshire’s response times between November 2016 and October 2017 reveal it took police more than 20 minutes to respond to 353 emergency incidents in the Chester policing area
Crewe also rated poorly in the county figures at 22% with Macclesfield slightly better at 20%.
Cllr Andrew Dawson (Con) told police and crime commissioner David Keane (Lab) at Wednesday’s meeting of the police and crime panel in Winsford: “I would be concerned if I was living in the Chester, Crewe or Macclesfield areas where I see that 20% or more of the emergency response incidents are not reached within 20 minutes. What are you doing about it?”
Mr Keane said the constabulary was taking a dip sample to look at response times of over 20 minutes to see if there were patterns, for example time of day.
He said the geography was also a factor where the local policing unit (LPU) covered a wide area.
“You might take Runcorn or Widnes as a local policing unit which is highly populated over a small geography, you might take Chester or the Crewe one or Macclesfield examples where you’ve got a larger geography,” said Mr Keane.
“What I’d like to be assured of is, in terms of deployment, the policing is based in the right areas within those larger geographies to reach 999 emergency calls within that time limit and I think Cheshire is doing reasonably well with that, but I want to make sure that’s the absolute best it can be.”
Panel chairman Cllr Howard Murray (Con) said he recognised there were issues with geography but added: “You’ve had a 6.3% decrease in the number of people calling 999 and yet the response rate is stable overall and poor in some areas.”
The figures show that in Cheshire as a whole police failed to respond to 1,628 emergency incidents within 20 minutes.
Of these, 362 (22%) were in Crewe, 353 (22%) in Chester, 346 (20%) in Macclesfield, 268 (16%) in Warrington, 150 (9%) in Northwich and 49 (3%) in Runcorn.
If the Chester LPU unit is looked at individually, the figures show Chester police took more than 20 minutes to respond to 6.9% of all emergencies.