You should only ring 999 in a genuine emergency. When a 999 call is placed, much goes on behind the scenes that the general public are rarely privy to. Have you ever thought about call handlers and officers, where they are, what they’re doing and how to allocate them to which emergency? Or how many police cars are on the road, which are free to attend and which are not? To put it bluntly, it’s a huge operation.
Essex Police reported earlier this year that they receive 400 inappropriate or hoax calls each month.
So what do people call 999 for? Here are our top 10 most ridiculous 999 calls.
- A woman called 999 to say men had arrived at her home and were trying to take her away. It turned out these men were police officers who were there to arrest her.
- A late night reveller called 999 to ask where the best place was to get a bacon sandwich.
- A woman who had been advised to call 111 for medical advice, dialled 999 to ask what the number was.
- A woman dialled 999 to ask officers to assist in quietening the foxes who were making noise outside as she couldn’t sleep.
- A man called 999 when he didn’t have any change to pay for his parking, claiming the staff were kidnapping him because they wouldn’t let him out for free.
- A distressed member of public dialled 999 as the fuel indicator light came on.
- A man called 999 to report a seagull who had attempted to steal his sandwich.
- A concerned member of the public called to report the suspicious activities of a learner driver who kept driving up and down the street.
- A man who had a toothache and needed dental surgery called 999 as the dentist round the corner was closed.
- A woman dialled 999 as her handbag was locked inside her house and she needed to go shopping.
Although amusing, calls like these are not a laughing matter. Calls of this nature put lives at risk by wasting valuable time and resources. Staff are unable to assist in genuine emergencies while processing these calls. On top of this, staff are often subject to verbal abuse by callers.
If in doubt, please make use of the resources below:
999 – Emergencies
101 – Non-emergency
111 – NHS Direct
Does the prospect of working for the police appeal to you? Then consider CU’s Policing degree at CU Coventry, CU Scarborough or CU London. CU Coventry also offers the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP) qualification.