Help Us Help by Making the Right Call

Answering police non-emergency calls is an important part of the work we do on behalf of our 33 police agency partners, but not every non-urgent matter requires a call to your police non-emergency line. Approximately 36% of calls E-Comm receives on police non-emergency lines need to be redirected to a more appropriate resource for help. Knowing who to call when you have a problem will help ensure you get the assistance you need as quickly as possible, while keeping critical lines free for genuine police matters.

Although E-Comm’s goal is to answer all non-emergency calls as quickly and efficiently as possible, there are times where non-emergency callers must wait to reach a call taker, as our call takers answer both 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls and must prioritize 9-1-1 lines first. Receiving calls on police non-emergency lines that are better suited elsewhere only adds to these extended wait times.

The public can help us help, by making the right calls and sharing the following non-emergency tips:

  • Knowing when to call 9-1-1, when to call the non-emergency line with a non-urgent police matter or when an alternative resource is better suited for your concerns means you can get the help you need faster.
  • If you are experiencing a lengthy delay on the non-emergency line, do not call 9-1-1 – unless your matter has escalated to a life-threatening situation and immediate action is now required by first responders.
  • If you need to call the police non-emergency line, try to make your report before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on a weekday to help minimize your wait time.
  • Many non-urgent crimes can be reported through online crime reporting on local police websites – visit nonemergency.ca to see if this service is available in your area.
  • Are you unsure where to call for help?
    • If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
    • For concerns of a non-urgent nature, check online to see if you should call the police non-emergency line, report your concerns through online crime-reporting or reach out to an alternate resource.

We want to thank the public for your patience and understanding as our hardworking call takers prioritize answering calls from those who are experiencing life or death emergencies first.

What are the reasons for longer wait times on police non-emergency lines?

Although wait times on police non-emergency lines have been steadily increasing over the past few years, these challenges have been exacerbated by the extraordinarily high call volumes on 9-1-1 lines experienced so far in 2021 and ongoing staffing challenges, which are being seen by emergency communications centres across the country.

How long will I have to wait if I call the police non-emergency line?

Wait times to reach a police non-emergency call taker can be impacted by call volumes, the type and complexity of the calls we receive, and even the time of day. So far in 2021 (June 30), we have answered 243,439 calls to police non-emergency lines and 95% of those calls were answered in 15 minutes or less, although we recognize that some callers waited much longer than this.

What is E-Comm doing to minimize the wait times on police non-emergency lines?

While we can’t promise to eliminate all wait times to speak with a non-emergency call taker, E-Comm is committed to ensuring we have the appropriate resourcing needed to answer these calls as quickly as possible. We are currently in discussion with our partner agencies to evaluate funding for our current and future staffing needs. In addition to maximizing staffing levels, we are also working closely with our partners to scale up the availability of online crime reporting, allowing you to file even more types of police reports at your own convenience, without needing to speak with a call taker.

How can I voice my concerns about wait times or share an experience I had speaking with an E-Comm call taker?

If you would like to speak directly to us about a service concern, you can reach out to us through the contact us tab on our website or by emailing talktoecomm@ecomm911.ca.