Stop making absurd 999 calls, say police
A MOTHER who called 999 because her son would not get out of bed is just one of the more absurd calls Essex Police has received recently.And to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the 999 emergency call system, the county's force is calling on residents to stop misusing it.
By Roddy Ashworth
A MOTHER who called 999 because her son would not get out of bed is just one of the more absurd calls Essex Police has received recently.
And to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the 999 emergency call system, the county's force is calling on residents to stop misusing it.
Other examples of inappropriate 999 calls include one from a woman walking home from a night out who wanted someone to talk to, someone who wanted to find out the weather for the next day, and a woman who called to say her hamster was trapped behind her wardrobe.
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Chief Inspector Nick Lee, of Essex Police's communications division, said: “These calls may seem amusing but the callers are clearly misusing the 999 facility.
“We are using the anniversary of the system to get the message across that by making hoax calls, hanging up, or by using the service for anything other than its function, holds up callers with genuine emergencies.
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“The public should only be calling 999 in emergency situations.
“These include where a person has been seriously hurt or about to be seriously hurt and situations which require immediate police action, for example a crime in progress or one that has just occurred or a road crash with injuries”.
Between August 2006 and August this year there were 13,193 calls made to 999 that were not genuine emergency calls, which represented around 10% of those referred to Essex Police.
People who misuse the 999 system are advised of what constitutes an emergency, but persistent callers are liable to prosecution.
Other examples of inappropriate emergency calls made to Essex Police are:
* A man who asked what time the local fireworks display would start.
* A woman who asked for police to take her home as she had no money.
* A woman who was walking home after a night out and, despite the fact she had no problems, said she “wanted a chat with someone”.
* Another caller who phoned and said: “I can't get a taxi home and I've got no credit. Can you phone one for me or give me a lift?”
* A man who phoned 999 to say his wife had got the wrong bus home after shopping and could the police do something about it.
* A man who phoned wanting to know what the weather would be like the following day as he was hoping to go on a picnic.
* A woman who called to report that she was terrified of a spider, asking police to come and remove it.
A police spokesman said yesterday that none of these calls should have been made to the police in any case, but that for non-emergency calls regarding genuine problems people should try and phone individual stations.
In north Essex, these include Tendring station on 01255 221312, Colchester on 01206 762212, Braintree on 01376 551312, Chelmsford on 01245 491212 and Stansted Airport on 01279 680298.