POLICE operators are answering 999 calls quicker, according to new figures.

Last year, Greater Manchester Police chiefs admitted they could improve after it emerged staff took longer than a minute to answer 7,859 emergency calls in the 12 months up to the end of October, 2012.

To address the issue, they took on more call handlers.

The Bolton News has obtained the latest statistics using the Freedom of Information Act and they show an improvement in most areas.

The number of 999 calls not answered within a minute in the 12 months up to the end of October, 2013, was 7,094 — 1.4 per cent compared with 1.6 per cent the previous year.

In all, 92 per cent of calls were answered within 10 seconds compared with 91 per cent the previous year and the force answered calls faster in the summer than in the previous summer.

On average, there were 55 calls every minute throughout the year and the busiest month was July, when an average of 1,616 were made per day.

There were no statistics covering only Bolton.

Cllr Derek Burrows, Bolton Council’s crime and community safety representative, said: “It is good to see that, while there has been an increase in the number of calls, the speed of which they are being answered has improved.

“I am sure Greater Manchester Police will be looking for further improvements.”

Diane Grandidge, Greater Manchester Police’s operational communications branch manager said: “We constantly aim to improve the service we give to the people of Greater Manchester, and the improvement in the speed with which we answer and deal with 999 calls is a good indicator of this.

“The call-handling role is a very challenging one, but we pride ourselves on having a high calibre of staff who are very dedicated to providing a great service on behalf of Greater Manchester Police.”