Bay of Plenty police are faster than the national average at responding to 111 calls.
Police response times to 111 calls in urban areas have improved over the past three years, and officers now reach more than half of priority-one incidents within 10 minutes.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show that last year, police responded to 61 per cent of 111 calls within 10 minutes.
Nationally, the response time for 90 per cent of priority-one incidents in urban areas was within 26m 51s - down from 27m 12s in 2010 and 28m 34s in 2009 and 2008.
Bay of Plenty police can boast an average response time which is more than a minute quicker than the national average.
The Bay of Plenty average response time is 25m 25s.
Bay of Plenty district commander Superintendent Glenn Dunbier said police were continually looking at ways in which they could improve their customer service.
"Our response to emergency calls is just one element of the service we provide, so whilst it's pleasing to be under the national average it's important to remember that it is not the sole indicator of the level to which we assist people in an emergency situation," he said.
"It is an element of our business affected by factors outside of our control, such as the weather and demands for service, and we have to ensure that the speed in which we respond does not put staff and other road users at risk."
Mr Dunbier said the main focus of police was to prevent crime to reduce the number of calls for service that require an emergency response.
Priority-one (or P1) events are deemed "urgent" and require an immediate police response.
An event is coded P1 when there is a threat to life or property and is still happening, when violence is being used or threatened, when a serious offence is being committed and the offender is present or leaving the scene, or when there is a serious vehicle crash.
The top five events likely to be coded as P1 are family violence incidents, traffic crashes or incidents, people acting suspiciously in cars or on foot, and disorder.
In rural areas, police responded to 84 per cent of P1 incidents within 30 minutes, and 90 per cent of 111 calls were responded to within 39m 44s.
A police national headquarters official said events were coded when the call was received at the communications centre.
"The call-taker determines whether the event is a P1, based on the criteria. The call-taker inputs information from the caller into a computer system which is then dispatched to the relevant frontline police unit."
Once police arrived at the scene, they responded regardless of what priority the event was, the official said.
Police planning and performance national manager Mike Webb said P1 calls "are about actual offences - robberies, assaults, homicides etc - but also incidents where an emergency response is needed but no offence has been committed, such as earthquakes, flooding and other weather-related events and some crashes or other incidents on motorways or highways".
There were several reasons police response times varied between urban areas, and were slower than the national response time in some places, Mr Webb said.
"These include the influence of an increasing population - more people create more calls for service."
Other factors were the distance to the event and traffic congestion.
Mr Webb said 111 calls were not included in the official crime statistics until police attended the scene and determined whether an offence had occurred and, if so, what type of offence it was.
Last year, New Zealand's three police communications centres received 1.7 million phone calls, which included 700,000 emergency calls.
Police response times for urban areas:
- Northland: 26m
- Waitemata: 31m 24s
- Auckland: 31m 17s
- Counties Manukau: 35m 15s
- Waikato: 30m 47s
- Bay of Plenty: 25m 25s
- Eastern: 18m 32s
- Central: 17m 30s
- Wellington: 18m 23s
- Tasman: 21m 5s
- Canterbury: 28m 6s
- Southern: 20m 21s