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E-Comm warns of lengthy waits on RCMP non-emergency lines

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Record breaking calls from from people in life-or-death situations have resulted in longer wait times for non-emergency ones.

E-Comm, the ‘emergency communications centre responsible for answering 99% of B.C.’s 9-1-1 calls’, says that 36% of police non-emergency calls do not need to be made to the police, so they request callers ‘make the right call.’

“For many of the calls we receive on non-emergency numbers, a police call taker is not the right person to action the caller’s concern. Knowing when to call 9-1-1, when to call the non-emergency line to report a non-urgent police matter or when to call elsewhere doesn’t just free up these critical resources – it also means callers can get the help they need faster,” explains Oliver Grüter-Andrew, President and CEO of E-Comm.

E-Comm says that redirecting calls to the appropriate resources is ‘a huge drain on police dispatch services and takes up valuable call taker time.’

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“Heading into the busier summer months, we always expected to see increased call volumes,” says Grüter-Andrew. “But the current strain on emergency services, including 9-1-1, is extraordinary. This record-breaking demand has led to increased wait times on police non-emergency lines, as E-Comm call takers must prioritize answering life or death emergencies coming through on 9-1-1.”

E-Comm requests callers look at other non-emergency services that may fit their inquiry, such as;

  • The local police agency’s website, where information about fingerprinting services, criminal record checks, or requests for copies of police reports can be made.
  • The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, where one can report frauds or scams. Available via 1-888-495-8501 or their website.
  • ICBC, where one can report a motor vehicle incident where there are no injuries or imminent threat to public safety and all vehicles are drivable. Available via 1-800-910-4222 or their website. 
  • The BC Residential Tenancy Branch, which deals with tenancy laws and landlord/tenant disputes. Available via 1-800-665-8779 or their website.

Further information about alternative resources can be found here.

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