AUDIO: Spider in house prompts 999 call to Derbyshire police

Struggling to find the phone number for a hairdresser and having a big spider in the house are just some of the inappropriate calls made to Derbyshire police on the 999 number.

Examples of inappropriate calls made to police have been released as a reminder to people of when to dial 999 and when to call the non-emergency number 101.

The reminder comes on the second anniversary of the introduction of 101 as the number to call about issues that do not need an emergency response.

The calls include a woman from Chaddesden who rang 999 in August to say there was a spider in the house and her mum was out. When challenged by the operator about the validity of the call, the woman said she believed it was an emergency.

In September, a woman from Duffield rang police to say her phone wasn’t working and she was unable to let her hairdresser know she wouldn’t be able to make her appointment.

Other calls made to Derbyshire Constabulary via 999 which were not police incidents include a letter sent to the wrong address and a security light shining outside a house in Derby.

On average, Derbyshire Constabulary receives 385 calls per day on the 999 number and around one third of these are not genuine emergencies.

You 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.

Inspector Dave Kirby, from the force’s Contact Management department which answers all 999 and non-emergency calls in the county, 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.”

The non-emergency number is a 24/7 service which should be used for all police matters of a non-urgent nature. These include:

• If you want to give police information about a crime in the area.

• If you want to contact a local police officer (such as someone from your Safer Neighbourhood team).

• If your property has been stolen or damaged and it is not a crime in progress.

• If you suspect drug use and dealing in your area.

• If you want to report a minor traffic collision.

Always ring 999 in an emergency. An emergency is where there is a crime in progress, or an immediate threat to life or property.