DORSET Police’s new Force Control Centre, combining the former Police Enquiry Centre and Force Control Room, is now operational at Dorset Police headquarters in Winfrith.

The move is part of a review of the force’s estate by the police and the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill.

The force says that the amalgamation of the two centres will save it around £1.3 million per year.

It admitted that the change had resulted in some disruption being experienced while systems were transferred and more staff recruited to support the increased demands on the Force Control Centre.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “The public and councillors have been quite vocal about the 101 non-emergency service and I have asked the Force to step up plans for service improvement."

Jane Jennings, the police’s head of contact management, said: “The recent changes have caused a temporary dip in our service. I would like to apologise for this and assure the public that we are actively recruiting more staff into the Force Control Centre to improve waiting times and overall performance.

“We receive a high volume of calls during peak hours so would like to advise the public to call outside these hours in an effort to reduce call waiting times and make use of the resources we have available at all hours of the day.

“Our peak times are between 9am and 1pm, and 4pm and 7pm. People also wait until Monday morning to report incidents that occurred over the weekend, so Monday is our busiest day.

“I would like to remind the public that the Force Control Centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So the best approach is to phone us as soon as the incident happens, particularly if it happens at the weekend, as this will help smooth the volume of calls throughout the week.”