Police are urging people not to misuse 999 in the run up to New Year’s Eve – the busiest time of the year for officers.
Some of the examples of inappropriate calls made to Greater Manchester Police’s call handlers include the alleged theft of marmalade from a man’s bag, a dog following a woman into her house and a man calling to report that he saw a chicken walking down a road. There have also been hoax calls made to the non-emergency 101 number which has included a call to report the killer involved in a recent Emmerdale plotline.
GMP’s call handlers receive an average 1,371 calls each day and on New Year’s Eve last year this figure reached 3,016.
Diane Grandidge, GMP’s business lead for call handling, said: “Christmas and the New Year are the busiest times of the year for our call handling team. We receive thousands of emergency and non-emergency calls which is why we would urge those making silly prank calls or thoughtless requests to think twice. It is these thoughtless acts and deliberate jokes that can cost lives as that single action can have an impact on the swiftness of the police’s response to a real emergency.
“I would urge everyone to think carefully before dialling, so that our call handlers can focus their efforts on real emergencies as they happen. You wouldn’t want your own call being delayed by a hoax so why have someone else’s.”
For general enquiries or to report non-urgent crimes, dial 101. For example, if your car has been stolen, your property damaged or you want to report a traffic collision or give people information about crime.
101 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a weeks and there is a single flat rate charge of 15p, no matter how long the call, the time of day or whether your call is made from a landline or mobile.
Members of the public should still call their local council for issues relating to graffiti, abandoned vehicles, dumping, fly tipping or vandalism.