Ringing up to complain about a noisy boiler or to book a taxi are just some of the nuisance calls Nottinghamshire Police has had to deal with in the last few weeks.
Ahead of the busiest weekend of the summer for the police the force has issued a plea to stop nuisance callers taking up the line.
In the past year, Nottinghamshire Police received around 180,000 calls to its 999 emergency number and a further 425,000 to its non-emergency 101 number.
While the majority of emergency calls are made to request police support in genuine emergencies, 999 call handlers still receive a number of spurious and misplaced calls which delay them from dealing with the most urgent calls.
In the last few weeks alone, the force has received 999 emergency calls from members of the public asking the force to:
Give advice on dealing with a rat in their home
Book a taxi
Share information about train timetables
Send-out officers to give advice on a noisy boiler
Advise the caller when their car insurance is due to expire
Explain why a power cut has happened
Explain why they’d been woken up by the police helicopter
Provide the telephone number for another police force
On a Bank Holiday weekend when Nottinghamshire Police officers, staff and volunteers will be attending a number of events on top of responding to calls from members of the public, the force is making a fresh plea for the public to think before calling 999 so it can be on-hand to respond to genuine emergencies.
Superintendent Paul Burrows, from Nottinghamshire Police’s Contact Management department, said: “The summer holidays and the August Bank Holiday weekend are typically one of the busiest times of year in our Control Room. We’re expecting a similar trend this year, which is why it’s so important that we know we’re prepared so that we can be there for when the public really do need us the most.
“While some of the misplaced emergency calls we receive range from honest errors of judgement to the more unusual, there is a serious point to be made here as every misplaced call our emergency call handlers receive has the potential to delay us from responding to genuine emergencies.
“All we’re asking is that people only call 999 in genuine emergencies and remember that there are other ways to contact us for less urgent enquiries, with the Nottinghamshire Police website offering advice on hundreds of policing and non-policing issues and the 101 non-emergency number also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
When should I call 999?
Nottinghamshire Police advises that 999 should only be used when life is in danger, someone is seriously injured, someone is using or threatening to use violence, a crime is in progress, there is serious damage being caused to property or whenever else an immediate police response is required.