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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 15:21 GMT
'Unresponsive' police highlighted
Hammersmith Police Station
The research follows a similar survey in 2003
Nearly half of police stations in London failed to answer non-emergency phone calls, according to a survey.

The study by the London Assembly's Liberal Democrats revealed that out of 141 stations there was response from only 76 (54%).

A similar exercise in 2003 had better results with a 61% response rate.

The Metropolitan Police said it was delivering a programme aiming to improve the way it handled all non-emergency calls.

'A disgrace'

In the 2003 survey, 80 police stations out of a total of 132 answered out-of-hours calls.

"Four years on from our last survey, these results show the Met to be more distant and uncontactable," said Dee Doocey, of the Lib Dems.

"Londoners face silence at the end of the line for just under half the capital's police stations, a disgrace by any standards."

The best performing boroughs, with 100% of calls answered, were Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Kingston and Waltham Forest.

In each case, the report said researchers were able to get through to all the local police stations in the borough.

The worst performing boroughs were Hammersmith and Fulham and Merton.

Researchers were unable to get through to any of the local police stations, the study said.

A Met police spokesman said: "The survey conducted focused on non-emergency, and non-crime reporting, and as such would have been transferred within the police station at the discretion of the operator."

The spokesman said improvements to call handling would include a system in which the caller was directed to an individual or to a voicemail system for similar enquiries.

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