‘My cat needs to be fed’ – 999 caller
Police urge people to think before they dial 999
A PERSON dialled 999 to tell emergency services that their cat needed to be fed.
This is just one example of the 2,611-plus nuisance or hoax calls made to police each month.
Across the whole of Kent a shocking 15,665 time-wasting calls were made from July 2006 to December 2006 – using up precious time and resources that could be better used elsewhere.
Guy Ferguson, customer services and quality manager for Kent police, said the calls ranged from silly questions from children to drunken requests for a lift home.
He said: “I remember one call where the person rang up to say ‘I’ve just bought some sandwiches at a petrol station and they are warm and out of date. Can you do something about it?’.”
Others include hoax calls, fake bomb threats, obscene messages and just abandoned calls.
Research recently produced by ntl:Telewest Business claimed vast public confusion was to blame for many inappropriate calls.
The research claimed that a high percentage of the population stated that they would dial 999 to report an incident that police forces consider a nonemergency.
In addition 54 per cent of the population did not know their local non-emergency number, while three per cent claimed to know a UK wide non-emergency number that does not exist.
Mr Ferguson said: “Three or four years ago there was a feeling that you couldn’t get through to police unless you called 999. This is not the case.
If it is not an emergency you should call your local police station.”
To report a non-urgent crime or discuss a local police matter call 01303 850 055 (Folkestone) or 01233 611 055 (Ashford, Tenterden and Romney Marsh). For the number of other police stations click on to www.kent.police.uk