9th Dec, 2016

West Midlands Police issue a reminder of what warrants an emergency call

Coventry Editorial 2nd Aug, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

“I SAW a bird fall out of a tree,” “Someone has pooed in my garden,” and “there’s two million wasps on my street” – just three of the latest ‘dilemmas’ that have prompted people to call the police 101 number!

West Midlands Police has issued a timely reminder over what warrants a call to the 101 non-emergency hotline as the force enters its busiest period for call centre demand.

July has recorded the highest monthly tally of 101 calls in each of the last three years with anti-social behaviour, rowdy summer parties, domestic abuse, and alcohol related incidents keeping the police busy.

But among the genuine calls for service West Midlands Police phone staff field hundreds of inappropriate questions or demands from members of the public.

In the last month alone 101 advisors have taken calls from people about botch-job haircuts, broken clocks, and broadband packages being faulty, plus general requests for phone numbers and even a complaint about the loudness of the ice cream vans chimes on their road.

Head of Force Contact, Chief Superintendent Jim Andronov, said: “The 101 number provides a vital service for people to contact us for non-emergency matters – but some people treat it as a general directory service.

“We take literally hundreds of spurious calls a month, these take up valuable police time and delay us dealing with genuine police matters. Many of the queries could be resolved with a simple internet search so our message is: Think Before You Call.”

There were around 11,266 more 101 calls made in May than April this year.

June alone saw 6,899 more calls than in May 2016.

It is anticipated the pattern will remain on an upward trend at the end of July and leading into August as seen in previous years.

Examples of the proper use of 101 include reporting a car as stolen, damaged property, or anyone suspecting drug dealing in their neighbourhood.

West Midlands Police will be issuing a selection of 101 audio during August to highlight some of the inappropriate calls.

If you have a non-emergency that we can help with, call 101.

999 should only be used in an emergency.

An emergency is when someone is at risk of getting injured, being threatened or a crime is being committed. We should only be called on 999 when there is a danger to life or a risk of injury being caused imminently.