KFC chicken shortage: Police release audio of 999 caller saying fast food restaurant is closed

Prank calls 'putting lives at risk by keeping call handlers from answering real emergencies', police warn

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 28 February 2018 18:44 GMT
'Hello, is that the police? KFC is closed': 999 call over chicken crisis released

An audio recording of a “ridiculous” 999 call from a man disappointed his local branch of KFC had closed has been released by police in Manchester in an effort to draw attention to time wasting calls.

It is the second time the police have made a public appeal to stop people calling to report the issue.

Last week the national “KFC crisis” saw over half of the fast food chain’s 900 UK outlets close across the country due to the lack of a key ingredient – chicken.

The shortage apparently prompted some members of the public to resort to calling the emergency services.

Last week,, Tower Hamlets Metropolitan Police Service in London tweeted: “Please do not contact us about the #KFCCrisis – it is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire.”

Police said this behaviour was “putting lives at risk by keeping call handlers from answering real emergencies”.

In the latest example of time wasting, the man can be heard saying: “I’ve got an emergency here.”

“Right,” replies the call handler, “whereabouts are you please?”

“I’m at home actually,” the man says, before adding: “I don’t know how you feel about this but KFC is closed and I’m entirely not happy. I have to go to Burger King now.”

The operator then asks if he is “taking the mick”, before telling him the closure is not a police matter and that she is clearing the line.

Superintendent Mark Kenny, who oversees Greater Manchester Police’s call handling team, said: “While some will think this is a harmless prank or joke I want to reiterate the severity of this – we had 74 calls to 999 and 154 to 101 during the hour this came in, all of which needed our full attention.

“Our hard working call handlers answered all but one of the emergency calls but 21 non-emergencies went unanswered. It’s not a stretch to say that, had this man not selfishly called for such a ridiculous reason, we would have been able to help more people who had a real reason to pick up the phone during that time.

“We work as hard as we can to answer as many calls as possible but people like this, and others who either misuse the service or call us for reasons they shouldn’t be, put real strain on our already stretched teams.”

Supt Kenny urged people to only call 999 in a genuine emergency and said when the man had made the call, the police force was already pushed to cope with a major car crash and an armed robbery.

He said: “At the same time this call came in officers were dealing with a multiple road traffic collision with people trapped, a welfare check after a disturbance in someone’s home, a large group of youths drinking and causing disturbance and the aftermath of an armed robbery, as well as other incidents. These are the things we are here to help you with, and we want to be able to.

“Please, think before you pick up the phone."

KFC today told The Independent 97 per cent of their restaurants have re-opened following the chicken crisis, which was blamed on newly appointed delivery company DHL.

However, restaurants are now reportedly running out of gravy, causing more headaches for the fast food chain.

A KFC spokesperson said: “97 per cent of our restaurants are now open, however, due to the ongoing distribution challenges DHL is experiencing, some restaurants are continuing to serve a reduced menu, including gravy.”

“We’re working as hard as we can to get this sorted out, we know that our gravy is a big favourite!”

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