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Police BCU covering Harrow fails to meet response time targets for significant calls

Information has revealed that none of the Basic Command Units (BCUs) in London, including the North West which covers Harrow, met the target response time for significant (S) Grade 999 calls over the past three months.

S Grade calls are calls that require a degree of importance or urgency associated with the initial police action, but an emergency response is not required.

Despite the target response time being 60 minutes, the average response time across all BCUs was 2 hours and 2 minutes between Dec 2022 and Feb 2023.


The figures, uncovered by London Liberal Democrat’s, show that in three BCUs, the average response time was over 2 hours, and in two BCUs, it was over 3 hours, with one BCU in East London recording a wait time of almost 5 hours for a response to an S Grade call.

For the North West BCU covering Barnet, Brent and Harrow, the average response time for S Grade calls was over 2 hours.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, London Liberal Democrat Assembly Member and Police and Crime Spokesperson, expressed her concerns about the findings, saying: “These figures on S Grade call response times are really quite shocking and many Londoners will find them deeply unsettling.

“It shows us that not only are target times being missed, but in the vast majority of boroughs they are nowhere close to being hit.

“The fact that someone in East London who has experienced a burglary or hate crime may have to wait almost 5 hours for a response just isn’t acceptable.

“In 2018 Sadiq Khan conceded that there were ‘some specific response times problems related to the rollout of the New Basic Command Units’, however here we are five years later and every single BCU is missing S Grade target times, most of them by a country mile.

“It is quite clear that we need a return to proper community policing with more borough-based officers and response teams to help Londoners when they need them most.”

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