Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

New Year taxi calls made to 999

Requests for taxis or lifts home were among the time-wasting calls made to 999 operators in Greater Manchester on New Year's Eve, police said.

Just 25% of the calls received between midnight and 0600 GMT on New Year's Day were real emergencies, the force said.

However, the total number of 999 calls to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) dropped by 700 from last year.

GMP said the fall suggested that people used the emergency number more responsibly than in 2007.

The overall number of calls received by GMP also dropped by 2,131. GMP ran an appeal ahead of the festivities urging people to only dial 999 in a real emergency.

999 delays

"The fact that the number of 999 calls we received fell on New Years Eve suggests that some people did take our message on board and did not abuse this number," said Andy Lang, Ch Supt of Operations Communication Branch.

GMP received 2,427 calls to the 999 number between midnight and 0600 GMT and about 25% were recorded as genuine emergencies, the force said.

Mr Lang said: "It is crucial that our call handlers are allowed to focus their attention and resources on urgent calls where people actually need help from the emergency services.

"I don't want someone to call 999 and be delayed because we are dealing with a caller reporting something that is not an emergency or, worse still, that is completely ridiculous and a deliberate joke.

"I would like to stress again that people should only dial 999 in an emergency and where there is threat to life or a crime in progress."

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