Shocking excuses for dialling 999 service for non emergencies in Kent

Contributed by editor on Jul 14, 2017 - 06:45 PM


Kent Police is warning that inappropriate use of the 999 emergency number could be putting lives at risk.

The public are being urged to only use 999 in a genuine emergency and to use 101 for all non-emergency situations.

In one seven hour shift on Friday 23 June 2017, 70 of the 158 calls (44%) to 999 were found to be inappropriate and did not warrant an emergency response.

Some of the people who dialled 999 explained that they were not prepared to wait for the 101 service to be answered and others were short of mobile telephone credit so used 999 as it is free.

Examples of other inappropriate calls taken on the same shift:

-Report bad driving in the Dartford area that happened 10 minutes ago. Caller did not want to wait in the queue for 101
- Prank call made in Broadstairs
- Caller wanted update on a stolen car enquiry
- Caller wanted some information on a car being sold
- Mother refusing to hand over property following family dispute in Lydd
- Nuisance bike riding around a residential housing estate East Malling
- Car speeding in Dartford – no registration given

An average of 1500 calls are made to the non-emergency 101 number in Kent every single day. An average of 900 calls are made to Kent Police on the 999 number.

Chief Superintendent Nicola Faulconbridge, Head of Crime and Incident Response said: ‘We’re not doing this to shame or embarrass the people who’ve dialled 999. We just want people to think first whether their call really does constitute a real emergency.

‘We are currently experiencing an extremely high number of calls to both 999 and 101 and at peak times it can take us longer than usual to answer 101 calls as emergency calls are prioritised.

‘Our operators answer calls as quickly as possible, in strict priority order and I’d ask people to be patient and try again later if possible.

‘We are looking at ways to reduce call congestion and developing ways that the public can report some matters online and make contact via the Kent Police Website.

The public can help by only calling 999 when:

-There is a danger to life or a risk of injury being caused imminently. Examples include serious road accidents, assaults or serious disorders.
- A crime in in progress. Examples include assault, burglary, and theft or if an offender is still on scene, or has just left the scene.
- Police attendance is required immediately such as to prevent a breach of peace, someone acting suspiciously or someone who is about to commit an offence.’

Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: ‘I know it can be frustrating for the public to have to wait for 101 calls to be answered. I have been holding the Chief Constable to account for this and response times are improving.

‘However, the force needs the public’s help too. At periods of peak demand it is entirely right that 999 calls are prioritised and it is not acceptable for 999 to be used simply as an alternative to 101.

‘Every inappropriate call to 999 puts the lives of people in a genuine emergency at risk.’

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