Time-wasting calls to 999 slammed by police after woman calls for paramedic to take dog's temperature
Thursday 03 January 2013
Running out of toilet roll and difficulty ringing a Chinese takeaway
have been revealed as some of the frivolous 999 calls made to a police
Devon and Cornwall Police said other unnecessary calls made last year included reporting a leak in a bathroom and someone wanting a lift home on Christmas Day.
It comes a day after North West Ambulance Service said it was "disappointed" to receive a number of time-wasting calls despite a plea to the public to use the emergency services wisely.
Last week Greater Manchester Police also released audio recordings of prank callers reporting a marmalade theft and an Emmerdale plotline as it urged the public not to abuse the emergency 999 number.
A spokesman for the Devon and Cornwall force said its operators had released a flavour of some of the inquiries they have had to bat away to allow genuinely urgent calls to get through.
One entry on the police log read: "Just received a 999 call from a male saying 'I have run out of toilet roll'."
And just after 7am on Christmas Day, police received a call from a sober sounding man outside Exeter police station asking for a lift back to Crediton.
He told the operator he had spent all his money and due to it being Christmas, said he was struggling to get home.
In another example of inappropriately using the 999 number, a woman who had been trying to contact her local Chinese takeaway, called police after finding that they were not answering.
She called the emergency number to ask if they knew if the takeaway had closed down or moved. She told the operator she had no concerns for them, and that she just wanted some food.
Another member of the public called 999 to say that her electricity had gone out and they needed to sort it.
The operator tried to give the woman the emergency number for the electric company but she would not believe that the police did not deal with electricity.
And she was not the only person ringing 999 for help with household problems.
A man rang to ask for the phone number of a plumber as he had come home to find he had a leak in the bathroom.
In October Devon and Cornwall Police reported an increase in the number of callers contacting the emergency number with non-urgent matters.
A spokesman for the force said fatal consequences could result from reckless or irresponsible use of the emergency telephone number.
He said: "We would urge people to think carefully before calling 999. The number is there for a reason.
"The 999 number should only be used for situations where life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required with an urgent response. 999 should only be used in an emergency.
"For general inquiries or to report non-urgent crimes, people are asked to dial 101 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
The North West Ambulance Service said yesterday that it had received 2,265 calls from midnight on New Year's Eve until 7am on New Year's Day, of which only 546 were serious and immediately life-threatening incidents.
One of the calls included asking a paramedic to take a dog's temperature.
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