AUDIO: Police warn over dodgy 999 calls

A SWAN trying to cross a road, a woman lost in a nightclub, and a man who couldn’t get his coat back from bar staff were the reasons behind some of the non-emergency calls made to 999 in Derbyshire this year.

Whilst many might seem amusing, such calls make up a third of all those made to Derbyshire Constabulary – who receive on average 385 calls to 999 each day.

Police have issued a warning over misuse of the emergency number and are reminding people when to call 999 and when to ring the 101 non-emergency number.

The move comes two months after the force introduced 101 as the new number to call about issues that do not need an emergency response.

Superintendent Kul Mahay is head of the force’s contact management department, whose staff answer all 999 and non-emergency calls in the county.

He said: “I would urge people to take a moment to think which number is the most suitable one to ring before calling the police. It should be clear as to what constitutes a real emergency situation.

“By ringing 999 when your call isn’t an emergency, you tie up call handlers whose time could be better spent dealing with situations where a life is in danger or a crime is in progress.

“Our call centre staff are highly trained and they are a real one stop shop when it comes to dealing with police enquiries. However, many of the 999 calls we receive are not emergencies and sometimes, they are not even about a policing matter.”

Such non-emergency calls include one made in November by a man who called to complain that staff at a Chesterfield bar would not return his coat. In July, a woman from Ripley reported that a wasp nest was on her drive.

Other calls from across Derbyshire include a woman calling to report that a duck had got its head stuck in some plastic at the River Gardens in Derby and a man called the emergency number to tell police a swan was trying to cross a busy road on the Derbyshire-Leicestershire boarder, while in December a woman called to report that she was lost in a Derby nightclub.

By Ellie Hunter