Would you call police if you saw a “sad looking horse” or thought your other half was cheating on you?
Believe it or not, these are just some of the calls Humberside Police have received in the last couple of weeks – many of which came through on 999.
Today they’re releasing details of some of those calls in the hope that by highlighting them it will make those who put other’s lives at risk think twice before they pick up the phone.
Superintendent Tracy Bradley said: “The number of calls for help we receive is going up every day and we want to make sure that when you need us, we are there.
“Over the weekend we had 5,779 calls, 1,860 of which were to 999. That’s up seven per cent on the same weekend last year.
“And when we’re having to take calls from people who think it’s appropriate to ring us and ask the time or for a lift home because their bike has a puncture, it means that it delays the people who really do need us from getting through.
“At best, that means people calling 101 have to wait longer before we can deal with their call. At worst, it could cost someone their life.
“We have also had a number of calls to 999 from people who think they’ll get through quicker than if they call 101.
“I want to make it clear that if you call 999 inappropriately, as soon as we have established you’re not calling about an emergency, we will hang up.
“I make no apology for that. We cannot risk delaying someone whose life is in danger getting through to us because someone has called to report a minor car crash or a shed that has been broken into during the night.
“The same applies to nuisance calls made to 101.
“We are not directory enquiries and our teams are not there to be abused. If you are shouting profanities, making sexual comments or trying to get us to intervene when you’ve bought something faulty and the shop won’t take it back, we will put the phone down.”
Not all the inappropriate calls we receive are done maliciously – many are vulnerable people and where that’s the case our teams do all they can to ensure that the caller is safe and has the right advice and support.
However, a lot are from people calling to ask for information on crime prevention or updates on when roads will reopen following crashes and there are other ways of getting this information without calling 101.
Supt Bradley added: “You can get all the latest updates on road closures from our force Twitter and Facebook accounts, or via the Highways Agency.
“To find out about what’s happening in your area, you can also sign up for My Community Alert or follow your local neighbourhood team on social media.
“There’s also a lot of information on crime prevention tips on our website and you can report non-emergency crimes such as break-ins that have already happened, or criminal damage, by using our online form.
“We do know that not everyone is comfortable going online. If that’s the case for you, then why not call into your local station, pop along to one of our neighbourhood team surgeries or stop one of officers while they’re out and about?
“We’re always more than happy to help – that’s what we’re here for. All we ask is that you think before you pick up the phone.”
TEN EXAMPLES OF CALLS RECEIVED IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS
A man had used the last of his money to buy his friend some Tampax. He called us to tell us about his good deed.
A man spent five minutes arguing with us after being told by an officer he couldn’t have blue lights on his car. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t when it was okay for cyclists to have blue lights.
A woman wanted us to do a lie detector on her partner, who she thinks is cheating on her.
A caller wanted to let us know they had seen a horse which ‘looked sad’ and they were concerned.
A woman asked us to intervene with a shop which wouldn’t allow her to return some ‘faulty’ tobacco she had bought.
A man called to ask the time.
A caller wanted us to help after their electricity went off and they were unable to switch it back on.
A man who had got a puncture on his bike wanted us to give him a lift home.
A woman called to say she had put her partner in handcuffs then lost the key. She wanted to know if she could use one of our keys. She called again later to say her partner’s hands were turning blue.
Callers dialling 101 to ask for the contact numbers for other services.