Police encourage public to think twice before calling 999
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We are encouraging members of the public to consider whether it is a genuine emergency or if the police are the most suitable agency to assist before calling 999, following a year of exceptional demand.
Nearly 150,000 999 calls were made to the force’s control room in 2023, reaching unprecedented levels in summer with more than 15,500 999 calls made in a single month.
Demand gradually dropped in autumn and winter as seasonal pressures eased, but remained high throughout the year, placing a strain on police resources.
Analysis of call data shows that more than 40% of calls did not require a police response, suggesting that a significant number of calls being made to 999 were for non-emergency or non-policing matters.
Force Control Room Chief Inspector Corina House said: “Our top priority is ensuring we are there for those who need us.
“Thanks to an increase in staffing levels, we have enhanced the service we are able to provide – nearly 90% of 999 calls were answered in less than 10 seconds in November and December, a significant improvement compared to the beginning of summer.
“These positive trends also extended to our 101 service, with wait times in November and December being the lowest they had been all year.
“However, we are asking for public’s help moving forward in making sure our emergency lines do not become overwhelmed.
“999 is for when there is a risk to life or safety, or a crime is in progress. In other cases, we have our online reporting tool and web chat service on our website, as well as our 101 non-emergency line, all of which are available 24/7.
“By taking the time to assess whether it is truly an emergency or if it can be dealt with by another agency, such as a local council or housing association, callers can help us keep our 999 lines open for anyone in immediate danger or requiring urgent assistance.
“This will enable us to prioritise our resources and provide efficient and effective support to those who need it most.”