News : Drunks and Hot Weather Push Up 999 Calls to Record Levels
West Yorkshire, UK, Aug 1, 2016 -- Time-wasters, drunk people and hot weather have led to a huge rise in 999 calls to West Yorkshire Police.
The Force is receiving over 1,000 more 999 calls compared with this time last year - and other forces are reporting similar increases.
Pranksters and the wilfully ignorant have been blamed for some of the calls, which have included daft questions about lost phones and what to do with a dead pigeon.
One caller rang 999 to ask: "What’s the non-emergency number?"
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Another caller asked about a broken freezer while one phoned 999 about a missing packet of rice.
Now, the head of the Force’s customer contact centre has asked genuine callers to consider alternative ways of getting in touch if the call is not an emergency.
Tom Donohoe said factors such as the hot summer weather and excessive alcohol consumption can have an impact on call demand.
He has reassured the public that all emergency calls will be dealt with.
"At the moment, the West Yorkshire Police contact centre is receiving an extremely high volume of calls. Comparing the figures from this time last year, we have had up to an additional 1,000 calls a day which is huge leap in call volume.
"Despite additional call demand due to the warm weather, our average queuing time for 999 emergency number this week is between 7.5 and 8 seconds and we are working hard to reduce this even further.
"I would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to answer all calls and also remind them that there are alternative ways of getting in touch with us including online crime reporting and our webchat facility which can be found on the Force website.
"We are recruiting additional staff to help us cope with the demand as well as investing in improved IT services to speed up our response times.
"We would stress though that online alternatives should only be used for non-emergency incidents and crimes and that 999 should still always be used in an emergency or when a crime is in progress, but please think before you contact us for non-emergency issue and ask, ‘is this a police matter?’"
Police said 999 calls are for serious issues such as a danger to life; use or immediate threat of violence; serious injury to a person, or serious damage to property.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About West Yorkshire Police:
West Yorkshire Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing West Yorkshire in England. It is the fourth largest force in England and Wales by number of officers, with 5671 officers.
Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2016
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