Clueless callers waste police time with pointless 999 calls - AUDIO
Noisy radios, lost glasses and faulty plug sockets are just some of the reasons why clueless callers rang 999 recently, according to the police.
Devon and Cornwall Police are urging residents to "Think First" before dialling the emergency number after experiencing an increase in the number of callers trying to reporting non-urgent issues.
Only if a life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby or immediate action is required should 999 be called.
But in the last month emergency calls to Devon and Cornwall Police have risen by 40 per cent at peak times, with the majority being non urgent or in some cases reporting matters that are not even dealt with by the police.
Inappropriate calls that have been clogging up the emergency phone lines range from problems with utilities to complaints about noise and often callers are knowingly using the line inappropriately.
Devon and Cornwall Police call handlers, who are trained in dealing efficiently with emergency situations, have reported a number of inappropriate calls in recent weeks.
- One woman called 999 and asked the call handler if officers could come to her house and test her plug sockets to see if they were working correctly. When the woman was challenged about calling the emergency number for what was a matter for an electrician she said she had also called the fire service and they had refused to help.
- A man from the Helston area called 999 because his neighbour was playing a radio too loudly - noise complaints are never dealt with the police, whether through 999 or the 101 non-emergency number, they should always be referred to the council.
- A woman called 999 stating that she had just got out of a taxi and left her handbag in it and wanted police to follow the taxi and get her handbag back. She was given the 101 number to report a lost bag.
- A woman called to say she was standing outside Specsavers and could not find her glasses.
Other common calls consist of: “Well, it’s not really an emergency, but I didn’t know the right number to call.”
The call centre also get a lot of callers on busy Friday and Saturday nights from people asking for lifts home or taxi firm numbers.
Superintendent Craig Downham, head of call management and communications at Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "There has been a marked increase in people calling 999 for non-emergencies.
"The 999 number should only be used for situations where life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required with an urgent response. 999 should only be used in an emergency."
The non-emergency number 101 has replaced 08452 777444 and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It costs 15 pence to call from a landline or mobile phone, no matter what time of day or how long the call lasts.