HAMPSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to improve the police call centre after hearing complaints about the 101 non-emergency number.

Simon Hayes said he would look to recruit more staff to the force enquiry centre at Hampshire Constabulary’s headquarters in Winchester, and to retrain those already there as required.

He was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Basingstoke and Deane Neighbourhood Watch group, held in the Civic Offices.

After a 20-minute speech, he received a question from Marian Adams, vice-chairman of Chineham Neighbourhood Watch, who said there was a growing frustration in Chineham with police response to 101 calls.

She said: “There is a feeling of frustration, bordering on mutiny, from Neighbourhood Watch.

“There have been several incidents in the last few months where residents have phoned up 101 and that is all we hear.

“Nobody turns up that day, nor the following day, or the days after that, and we find our beat officer was never notified of our calls.”

Mr Hayes apologised and said he had heard similar complaints from other groups around Hampshire.

He said: “People do not feel the crimes are being taken seriously, or are told that it’s not a crime, and I and Chief Constable Andy Marsh do not think that is acceptable.

“We need to improve the game of 101 because more often than not that is the first point of contact that people have with Hampshire Constabulary. If it were a business, people would go somewhere else.”

The 101 number was introduced in May 2006 as a trial by Hampshire Constabulary, as a way to make it easier for people to report non-urgent crimes, such as some anti-social behaviour. Last year, it was rolled out across England and Wales.

All 101 calls cost 15p, and Hampshire callers who dial 101 are redirected to handlers at the police headquarters in Winchester.

Chief Inspector Steve Wallace, district commander for Basingstoke and Deane, told the meeting that if 101 calls are logged correctly, then police officers will act on the information supplied.