Update on Non-Emergency Call Wait Times

Message from E-Comm, our police call-taking and dispatch partner:

Update on Non-Emergency Call Wait Times

Police non-emergency lines are an important part of the community and the work of police agencies. As the dispatch partner of the Oak Bay Police Department, we know that non-emergency wait times are too long at certain points of the day and we are working diligently to shorten them. We want to thank residents for your patience and to apologize to anyone who has had to wait for an inordinate amount of time to speak with one of our hardworking call takers, who are on duty 24/7.

Since the new consolidated South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre began full operations on February 5, 2019, E-Comm has answered 78% of the 122,641 non-emergency calls we received in five minutes or less.[1] However, we know there are too many other callers who have had to wait significantly longer.

What are the reasons for longer wait times?

We place answering emergency calls as our top priority. As a result, non-emergency callers can experience longer wait times as our cross-trained staff prioritize calls in which life/safety is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress. We continue to answer 9-1-1 calls quickly and efficiently (9-1-1 Call Volumes and Service Levels).

While we can’t promise to eliminate non-emergency wait times altogether, we can do more to shorten the time it takes to speak with one of our staff. And we are.

We’re recruiting more call takers (Join Our Team) to help with call volumes and we’re working on new processes to enhance non-emergency call-answer service. Our goal is to answer more of the calls we receive faster and to provide the most responsive service we can for our police partners and for you.

The public can help us help through the following tips:

  • If you have an emergency in which immediate action is required—life/property is in jeopardy or there is a crime in progress—call 9-1-1.

  • If you are experiencing a lengthy delay on the non-emergency line (250-592-2424), do not call 9-1-1 unless your matter has escalated to a serious situation in which immediate action is required or there is a crime in progress. You can learn more about the difference between emergency and non-emergency calls by visiting
  • Non-emergency lines tend to experience the highest call volumes during traditional business hours (e.g. 9am-5pm) and especially during late afternoon rush hour. If possible, report your non-emergency police matter during off-peak hours to limit your wait time (early morning and evening tend to be less busy).
  • If you call the non-emergency line and receive a recorded announcement advising all call takers are busy, remaining on the line will ensure your place in the queue is maintained. If you cannot wait and choose to hang up, please do not call back right away. Try calling later during off peak hours.
  • Use other sources to find information/resolve issues that are not typical police matters, such as road conditions and closures, power outages, weather and local services.  We receive many calls that are better directed to agencies other than the police and using alternate community services does help keep non-emergency lines free for police matters.

  • Visit here to learn more:

In the meantime, if you would like to speak directly to us about a service concern, we want to hear from you. You can reach out to us through the contact tab on the homepage of or by emailing We wish to thank the community, our partners and our staff for their support and patience as we work to shorten non-emergency wait times.

[1] As of September 30, 2019 – Total for all South Island police dispatch partners More: E-Comm Police Dispatch Partners

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