POLICE staff will take 999 calls from a base in Kirklees for the first time in 15 years.
From September, the Kirklees division of West Yorkshire Police will have its own dedicated control room.
It is part of a move across the county to re-introduce local control rooms after many years of working from centralised units.
Sgt John McFadzean, of Huddersfield’s town centre policing team, worked in the last control room in Huddersfield shortly before it closed in the mid-1990s.
He said: “What the call handlers had at that time was a lot of local knowledge, which can be really important.
“Now we have a situation where someone will call the police, saying something has happened on Wakefield Road, and the person on the other end won’t know there are three different Wakefield Roads.
“When you have a local control room, you get used to the regular callers and so you know if someone has particular issues that need to be taken into account.”
West Yorkshire Police took more than 3.1million calls last year and dispatched officers to more than 355,000 incidents.
The force operates three main control centres – a call handling centre in Wakefield and two dispatch centres covering the east and west of the county.
By the end of the year every division will have its own control room.
Chief Insp Mick Hanks, of the communications division, said: “This is all about local accountability, and improved front line service.
“Feedback from our communities contacting the force, tells us that they want to know their call will be dealt with by someone who knows and works in their patch, and understands their local issues.
“Control room operators will be working alongside operational front line colleagues as part of the same team, rather than remotely from each other.
“This will enable them to work together more closely, sharing information and local knowledge to help improve the service.”
As well as improving customer service and local accountability, police chiefs say the move is also providing the Force with some further efficiencies, as part of its measures to meet budget restrictions.
“There has been some initial cost in getting everything in place to make the moves possible, but this has been more than offset in efficiency savings the projects bring about,” added Chief Insp Hanks.
“The creation of the Divisional Control Rooms has been timed to coincide with a previously planned upgrade of some of the Force’s critical IT and telephone systems”.