‘My cat needs to be fed’ – 999 caller

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

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one call where the per­son rang up to say ‘I’ve just bought some sand­wiches at a petrol sta­tion and they are warm and out of date.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

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