999 call was to check chance of being a PC

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A police force campaigning to reduce the abuse of the emergency phone system was shocked yesterday at a 999 call from a man asking whether his application to become a policeman had been received.

"Today's call is astonishing," said Chief Inspector Jan Stephens who was in the control room of Kent police headquarters in Maidstone when the call came in. "My operator, who is highly trained to deal with all manner of life-threatening situations, quite properly reprimanded him."

A police spokesman Mark Pugash said they did not know the identity of the caller, but added: "We don't want to prejudge this but I reckon the chance [of the man becoming an officer] is pretty slim."

Chief Inspector Stephens said: "Even a slight delay on a 999 could mean the difference between life and death. I defy anyone to find that funny."