A recent news report at The National indicates the substantial growth in calls Dubai Police say they are receiving this year.
Up from 18 percent last year, the report indicates that in the first six months of 2014 the Dubai Police call center received more than 1.4 million calls through its 999 emergency call line. Col Omar Abdullah Al Shamsi, director of the department, commented on the tremendous feat the department staff has achieved by answering the millions of calls in short order.
"If you compare, in Dubai city, one of the smaller cities in the world... with London city, London is almost 2.4 million calls in one year," Al Shamsi said. "Of course it's a good performance to answer this many calls. Do you know how many call takers we have to answer these 1.4 million? There are 20 call takers around the clock. There is an average of 20 call takers."
The 20 call takers answer incoming calls at the Control and Command Centre at the Dubai Police's general department of operations. The National says they answered 97 percent of this year's calls within 10 seconds which is a goal the department set for this year, Al Shamsi noted.
He indicated that it would be unreasonable to answer 100 percent of calls within 10 seconds. There is nowhere in the world where that is accomplished, he said. The staff answers the latter three percent in roughtly 15 to 20 seconds.
The police department responds to peak hours by applying more staff to answering the phones. Al Shamsi laid out the peak times the department experiences.
"During Ramadan, the peak is different. From 10 in the morning until 6 p.m., this is a peak time of calling 999, but on normal days, the peak time is from after 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.," he said.
He noted that the extra staff and increased number of calls require that the department spend more money to keep up with them. He also said that a large number of calls people place to the emergency 999 line are non-emergencies, and he encouraged people to call 901 with inquires that are not emergencies that the department can answer.
Public awareness campaigns are doing some good on that front, The National says, they are instructing people to call the non-emergency line for inquiries of that type. The number of calls officials received at the 901 line rose to 44,556 in the first half of this year compared with 30,951 received during the first half of last year.