South Africa

Calling 10111? You could wait over an hour for response, says police minister

Emergency response police 10111

If you have a top-priority emergency in the Northern Cape, you will probably have to wait around an hour to get a response from the police.

The province has the longest average response time to 10111 calls in the country, at one hour for the highest priority calls and two to six minutes more for other emergencies.

Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed this in response to a recent parliamentary question on the matter.

The North West and Eastern Cape both logged average response times of over 30 minutes for high-priority calls, with the Free State just a few seconds shy of the same time.

READ MORE: Can 10111 be rescued?

Gauteng had the fastest average response time of around 12 minutes, followed by Limpopo (16-17 minutes, depending on priority) and the Western Cape (17-20 minutes, depending on priority).

KwaZulu-Natal residents can anticipate a wait of around 21 to 24 minutes. It just beat Mpumalanga, which has a response rate of between 23 and 28 minutes.

10111 command centres

“10111 command centres receive and dispatch calls to police stations linked to the command centres,” the police ministry explained.

There are four centres each in the Eastern Cape and the Free State, while Mpumalanga has three and Limpopo two.

The other provinces – including KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, and Gauteng – have one each.

Watch: Minister Bheki Cele answers 10111 at Gauteng call centre

Understaffed and dropping calls

Last year police revealed that 10111 call centres were only staffed at around 40% and had dropped more than 6 million calls in the three years between 2020 and 2023.

Gauteng accounted for the most dropped calls, a staggering 3.83 million.

READ MORE: Government to improve Saps 10111 call centre

“The 10111 number is the only line of defence some of our people have as they struggle against the unrelenting tide of crime sweeping across South Africa.

“We cannot allow South Africans to be abandoned and become even more defenceless due to the inability of the police to respond to emergencies,” DA MP Andrew Whitfield said at the time.

Recovery plan

Earlier this year, police said they were embarking on a recovery plan for their 10111 call centres, including increasing staffing, capacity, and response times.

NOW READ: Tips when using the 10111 line