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06 February 2008
University researchers are to investigate the effects of a move by South Wales Police to change the way that the force answers its 999 calls.
Professor Martin Innes of the Universities Police Science Institute and Dr Frances Rock of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy are involved in a long-term project with the police force to help improve telephone contact with the public.
As part of their research they will investigate the style changes introduced by South Wales Police when they answer 999 calls. The greeting is changing from "South Wales Police how can I help" to "South Wales Police what is your emergency?"
Dr Rock, Centre for Language and Communication at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy said: "Changing how calls are answered by the police has a real potential to improve how police interact with people who need their help. This is an exciting development which is supported by research evidence. We hope our studies will improve the working lives of people who answer and respond to calls and will improve the experience of members of the public who call South Wales Police."
The change in answering 999 calls will bring South Wales Police in line with their contemporaries in America, where police departments including New York and San Diego already use a similar greeting. It is also hoped that it will reduce the number of non-urgent calls control room staff deal with by encouraging members of the public to think more carefully about what their emergency is.
The move has been welcomed by Professor Martin Innes of the Universities Police Science Institute. The Institute is a unique collaboration between South Wales Police, Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan intended to improve the delivery of policing services to the public by drawing upon the latest scientific research and evidence.
Professor Innes said: "Changing how calls are answered by the police exemplifies the Institute's mission in that it has a real potential to improve how police interact with people who need their help."
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