Police investigate 30-minute delay in getting to A38 crash
POLICE are to carry out an internal inquiry into why it took officers more than half an hour to arrive at a serious road crash – trailing both the ambulance and fire service despite being called first.
The collision between a grey Citroen saloon and a Ford Fiesta van on January 17 occurred on the A38 westbound off-slip at Deep Lane and caused traffic chaos to the morning rush hour.
A member of the public who was first to stop at the scene told The Herald they called 999 at exactly 6.43am, requesting both police and an ambulance.
They said that when nobody had arrived in six minutes they called 999 again asking for ambulance and then fire who arrived within minutes.
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They added: "Plympton and Plymstock fire got there first, just before 7am and the ambulance arrived almost the same time.
"The police then called my mobile at 7am to check the location.
"The police eventually arrived at 7.18am.
"I don't know why they took so long, but if this is down to budget cuts and the reduction in the numbers of officers on the frontline, then the government needs to do something about it."
The fire service claimed it was first contacted at 6.51am, confirming crews from Plympton, Plymstock and Crownhill attended the incident. Crews set to work releasing one casualty using hydraulic cutting equipment and small tools.
Police say their logs show they were first called about the incident at 6.47am and the incident was classified as "immediate".
Police records reveal there was a discussion about the location of the incident at one stage and the first police vehicle on the scene was recorded at 7.18am.
The Herald understands current shift patterns mean response officers hand over to a different shift at 7am. The nearest police response base is located at Plympton police station in Station Road, off Glen Road, an estimated 2.3 miles away from the scene of the crash.
Supt Craig Downham, head of call management and communication said: "Response time for immediate calls is 20 minutes.
"We aspire to attend all immediate within that time but for various reasons at times we are unable to do so. Conversely we frequently attend well within this time.
"We aware that on this occasion we did not arrive within target time, and are conducting an internal review of the reasons for this in order that we learn any lessons.
"I am not aware of any complaints from members of the public or other emergency services at this time."