Police Warn of Nuisance Calls During Festive Season
Written by Duncan Martin on December 23, 2015
With the festive season well and truly upon us, the police are asking us to make sure we only dial 999 in an emergency.
It follows a spate of calls they say do not require a police response.
Christmas and the New Year traditionally sees the 999 emergency line at its busiest and London’s Metropolitan police receive, on average, over four and a half million calls per year to the 999 and 101 numbers.
To emphasise this concern, they have released examples of calls made over the last year which did not require a police response.
Details of the calls have been released in a bid to stop people from using the police emergency number for trivial matters, including:
* A woman called police to say she has just bought a kebab and it was cold. The shop would not replace her kebab.
* Callers, who missed their alarm and were going to be late for a flight, wanted officers to take them to the airport.
* A woman called stating that she was angry – she had seen a clown in London selling balloons for £5 each. This price was much more expensive than other clowns selling the same product.
* Callers phoned in distress; they were driving and the low fuel indicator light had come on.
* A man called to say that his 50p coin was stuck in a washing machine at his local launderette and wanted police to retrieve it.
* Man called stating that he didn’t have change for the parking machine. He claimed staff at the car park had kidnapped him because they were refusing to let him out for free.
* “Where is the best place to get a bacon sandwich right now?”; was the question asked to a 999 operator on a Saturday night.
* A man called 999 as he was advised to call 111 but didn’t know their number.
* A woman called stating that she wanted police to deal with a couple of noisy foxes outside her address as they were preventing her from sleeping.
* A woman called asking for police to attend her property as there were men in her house trying to take her away. The men in question were, in fact, police officers who had attended her address to arrest her.
To some, it can be difficult to judge what is or is not an emergency, but in general you should call 999 if:
– Someone’s life is at risk or someone is being physically threatened;
– When a crime is in progress or if the offenders are still nearby;
– There is a road traffic collision causing personal injury or danger.
The police are reminding the public that in a non-emergency, if they need to contact them, they should call the non-emergency number, 101.
The 101 number is part of a national programme to improve access and to give the public an easy way to contact police if they do not need an urgent response. For example, the public should call 101 to report less urgent crime or disorder, or if they have a general police related enquiry. Examples of which can be:
– If your car has been stolen;
– If your property has been damaged;
– Where you suspect drug use or dealing.
While abandoned calls are not classified as nuisance calls, they take up operators’ time as the majority of them have to be called back to ensure that emergency services are not required.
The MPS Central Communications Command is where the Met receives all of London’s police emergency calls. Nuisance calls are closely monitored, especially those calls where individuals are identified as repeat abusers of the 999 system which prevents operators answering calls from genuine members of the public needing assistance.