Cumbria Crack

‘999 calls are for emergencies only’ – warns Chief Inspector

‘There’s a moth in my bedroom’

‘Why is my daughter in school detention?’

Inappropriate use of the 999 system – particularly during the busy Christmas period –  has the potential to put more strain on policing resources.

Non-emergency calls to the police’s 999 number take up valuable time, tying up operators who could be helping with a genuine emergency.

In recent weeks a number of such 999 calls have been received by our control room.

Earlier this month officers received a call from a mother seeking to find out why her daughter was in detention at school.

Another call 999 call came from a 21-year-old woman who rang to say there was a large moth in her bedroom.

Three weeks ago a man called both the police and the ambulance service – to ask for a lift.

Officers are also dealing with issues with people using the 999 number for non-emergencies which should be called through on 101.

Officers received a 999 call from a woman making an enquiry about an incident. When asked why she had used the 999 line she replied that it was because she had no credit on her phone.

Another person called 999 to express concerns about parking issues in Kendal.

Chief Inspector Matt Kennerley, who is responsible for Cumbria Police’s Command and Control Room said: “Our control room operators provide a vital service to Cumbria. Their diligent and professional work, which is rarely highlighted publicly, can, at times, be the difference between life and death.

“When they answer a call they never know what is going to be on the other line – a woman being attacked by her partner in her own home, a witness to a serious road traffic collision, a burglary in progress.

“The last thing we need and that operator needs is for their valuable time to be taken on inappropriate calls to the 999 emergency number. Any such call which takes our staff away from answering real, genuine emergency calls from people in need of help has the potential for tragic consequences.

“The demand on policing resources is often at its highest at this time of year – please do not add to the strain by misusing the 999 emergency line.”

Do you know the difference between 101 and 999?

Use 999 when:

  • it’s an emergency
  • a crime is in progress
  • someone suspected of a crime is nearby
  • there is danger to life
  • violence is being used or threatened

If you don’t need an emergency response, then you should call 101.

This could be to report a crime or to seek advice.

Calls to 101 incur a 15p charge but this is a flat fee for the entirety of the call (mobiles included).

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