Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Friday, 14 December 2007

Police expose 999 'time wasters'

Police in Cambridgeshire have released a compilation of time-wasting calls made to 999.

The calls included one person who wanted to know the date, a woman who could not find a DIY store and another who wanted to speak to the Prime Minister.

Despite the non-urgent nature of the calls, operators are told to remain polite, composed and calm at all times.

Police have released transcripts in the hope of reducing the number of trivial inquiries they receive.

Call 1

Operator: "You're through to the police, how can I help?"
Caller: "Hello, I know this ain't emergency, but what's today's date?"
"Is that why you are calling on 999?"
"Yeah."
"Ok, it's not an emergency and it's not something you should be dialling 999 for."
"Alright, good night".

Call 2

Operator: "Hello it's the police here."
Caller: "Yes, sorry, I can't find Homebase and I'm getting really distressed, who can I ask?"
"You can't find Homebase?"
"Homebase in Huntingdon and I'm getting really stressed and in tears, I've had to pull over and I just don't know who to ask."
"That's not really a 999 call, it's not a life and death emergency is it?"
"No it's not, so who can I phone?"
"Is there some one on the street you can ask for directions?"
"I've asked several times, I'm sorry I'm in tears. I'm sorry I won't call again."
"You're best asking some one in the street for directions or finding a map. It's not a 999 call."
"Thank you."

Call 3

Operator: "Cambridgeshire Police emergency, may I help you?"
Caller: "Is that the police? Oh good, perhaps you can help me. I want to get a message to Sedgefield, I want to speak to the Prime Minister and I want to get hold of him - just to give him good wishes and say that he's my type of chap."
"Right, you need to ring London then not Cambridgeshire."
"Can you give me - I can't seem to get any sense out of anybody this morning. Give me the telephone number will you?"
"I can't - I haven't got the telephone number for the Prime Minister's office."
"How can I get hold of it then?"
"Have you tried directory enquires?"
"I've tried them and I haven't been able to get hold of it."
"I'm sorry."
"How do I get hold of him them?"
"You'll have to try the Prime Minister's office."
"How can I get the number?"
"I haven't got it."
"Well I haven't got it either."
"I can't help you on the emergency line number."
"This is an emergency."
"It's not a life and death matter."
"How the hell do I get hold of him then?"
"You have to go via directory enquires..."
"I've tried and haven't got any sense."
"Or ring the Houses of Parliament and see if they can help you."
"Can you give me their number?"
"I'm sorry I can't give you their number on emergency line."
"What line do I ring?"
"Directory enquires."
"What's their number?"
"118 118."
"Will they be able to help?"
"They'll be able to help you with that."
"This is absolute idiocy."
"I'm sorry I can't help you on the emergency line."
"You don't seem to be able to help me with anything do you?"
"Try directory enquires...."
"Thanks for your help... good bye."



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Force gets tough on 999 callers
14 Dec 07 |  Cambridgeshire


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