The public are being urged to ‘think before you dial’ as Thames Valley Police reveal that 80% of 999 calls are not an emergency.
Before making a 999 call Thames Valley Police are urging the public to ask themselves two questions :
- Is someone’s life in danger?
- Is a crime taking place right now?
If the answer to either of these is yes, then this is an appropriate 999 call.
Inappropriate use of 999 could delay the emergency services responding to those who need help immediately and a decision to use 999 inappropriately could cost lives.
Whilst some of the inappropriate 999 calls are hoax calls or clearly inappropriate, Thames Valley Police understand that the majority of the calls are because callers are unaware of how to get in touch with the police.
101 is the contact number for Thames Valley Police for all non-emergency situations and enquiries. However, Thames Valley Police are asking callers to consider if your call is a policing matter before calling 101.
The Thames Valley Police website can also be used to report a crime that has happened recently, where a life is not in danger, or if you would like to ask a question or update an existing crime report.
The Contact Management Department at Thames Valley Police is made up of staff working 24/7 every day of the year.
The 101 lines are constantly manned by call handlers who are trained to record crimes and send police officers where necessary and who can answer a wide range of queries relating to police matters. These trained operators will also monitor the reports and contact forms that are made online throughout the day and night and each report will be actioned within 4 hours of it being received.
Chief Superintendent Christian Bunt, Head of Contact Management for Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘I am keen to raise awareness of how you can contact the police when immediate help is not required.
In an emergency situation, every second counts, and ultimately using 999 to ask to speak to an officer or to report a crime that took place a few days ago, could delay police responding to someone who is in desperate need of help.
I would like to ask members of the public to think before you dial. Is a life in danger? Is a crime in progress? If both answers are no, then please use our 24 hour non-emergency number 101, or contact us online. Of course, if either of these answers is yes, then you must call us immediately on 999.‘