POLICE are urging people to only call 999 in a real emergency after it was revealed that a third of calls made each day are not genuine emergencies.
To highlight the issue police have released examples of inappropriate 999 calls which include reports of being lost in a nightclub, a duck crossing a busy road, and a complaint that bar staff would not return a coat.
Superintendent Kul Mahay said: “I would urge people to take a moment to think which number is the most suitable one to ring before calling the police. It should be clear as to what constitutes a real emergency situation.
“By ringing 999 when your call isn’t an emergency, you tie up call handlers whose time could be better spent dealing with situations where a life is in danger or a crime is in progress.
“Our call centre staff are highly trained and they are a real one stop shop when it comes to dealing with police enquiries. However, many of the 999 calls we receive are not emergencies and sometimes, they are not even about a policing matter.”
Police are reminding people that they should only call 999 in a real emergency - when a crime is happening, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby or where someone is injured, being threatened or in danger. For all other incidents or queries, including reporting criminal damage or a minor collision, ring 101.
Supt Mahay added: “Our old non-emergency number was eleven digits long and we found that people would dial 999 because they couldn’t remember any other number to call the police.
“We believe that the introduction of 101 will reduce the number of 999 calls we receive in future.”