ONLY 17 per cent of 999 calls are answered by South Yorkshire Police within ten seconds, new data has revealed.

The average pick-up time is 20.5 seconds – leaving the force as second-worst performer.

The government set a target of answering 90 per cent of calls within the ten-second limit but South Yorkshire Police were unable to hit this.

Superintendent Cherie Buttle said: “We aim to provide the highest standard of service to the public of South Yorkshire when they call us in their moments of need.

“Our ultimate goal is to answer all 999 calls within 10 seconds, and we know we still have work to do to get us there consistently.

“I’d like to assure the public that we’re working incredibly hard to make this happen.

“This includes a recruitment drive and a new provision of training for our staff.

“In addition, we are investing in our current technology and exploring new technological solutions to improve our service offer.”