AUDIO: Unwelcome spider amongst reasons for dodgy 999 calls

A letter sent to the wrong address, an unwelcome spider and a missed hair appointment were some of the inappropriate 999 calls made to Derbyshire Police this year.

The force are reminding people when to call 999 and when to call 101 – ahead of the anniversary of the introduction of the non-emergency number.

On average, Derbyshire Constabulary receives 385 calls per day on the 999 number and around one third of these are not genuine emergencies.

A woman from Chaddesden rang 999 in August to say there was a spider in the house and her mum was out. When challenged by the operator about the validity of the call the woman said she believed it was an emergency.

In September, a woman from Duffield rang police to report her phone wasn’t working and so she was unable to let her hairdresser know she wouldn’t be able to get to an appointment.

Other calls made to Derbyshire Constabulary via 999 which were not police incidents include a letter sent to the wrong address and a security light shining outside a house in Derby.

Inspector Dave Kirby, from the force’s Contact Management department, 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.”

They said you should only call 999 in a real emergency - when a crime is happening, when someone suspected of a crime is nearby or where someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.

For all other incidents or queries, including reporting criminal damage or a minor collision, ring 101.