(File photo)

(File photo)

Surrey’s OCC fielded calls from 305,000 people in 2020, an ‘unusual’ year of fewer such calls

The numbers were released Monday in recognition of Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Surrey RCMP telecommunications operators last year talked to more than 305,000 people who called for police service, generating more than 200,000 operational files.

The call volume is down slightly from the previous year — and it might have something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We actually had a bit less (call volume) in 2020 than in 2019,” Surrey RCMP Cpl. Elenore Sturko told the Now-Leader on Monday (April 12).

“Year over year typically have seen a steady increase in calls, in line with our population growth,” Sturko added. “However, 2020 was unusual and we do believe some of this is attributed to the pandemic.”

There were 309,000 calls to Surrey RCMP’s Operational Communications Centre (OCC) in 2019, so that’s close to 4,000 fewer calls in 2020.

The numbers were released Monday in recognition of Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 11-17).

(Story continues below Facebook post)

Ninety people are on staff at the OCC, which operates around the clock to answer, triage and dispatch 911 and non-emergency calls.

“We recognize that people are often calling the police during very stressful or traumatic circumstances,” OCC Manager Lindsay Scott said in a news release posted to bc-cb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca. “Our job is to collect all the important information we can to help officers respond in the quickest and safest way possible.”

Last year the OCC fielded more than 46,000 “false or abandoned” 911 calls, “tying up significant resources,” the release says. “Some of the common calls include pocket-dials, devices like smart watches that inadvertently call 911, or kids playing with old cell phones that still have the ability to make an emergency call.”

The OCC is described as “a fast-paced environment requiring a strong ability to multi-task and switch between a non-urgent call and an unfolding, emergency file within any given shift. Telecoms operators are the first line of contact between the public and police, and an important lifeline to keep our officers on the road safe.”

Telecoms operators are trained to ask a series of questions to callers in order to understand when, what and where the incident is taking place in order to dispatch officers.

“One of the best ways to help is to follow their lead in answering the questions,” the news release notes. “In order to reduce the number of false 911’s it is important to use 911 for emergency situations only, such as an immediate threat to safety or crime in progress. All other calls should be directed to the Surrey RCMP non-emergency at 604-599-0502. Certain crime types can also be reported online.”

If you dial 911 accidentally, stay on the line to talk with a call taker who can verify your safety. If you hang up, operators must take additional steps to call back or have a police officer attend in person.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Police

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

Surrey Fire Service firefighters quickly contained a fire on 75A Avenue. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Surrey firefighters extinguish second house fire in Newton

Second fire incident reported in Newton Sunday morning

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read