POLICE have urged the public to use 999 responsibly over the festive period after a woman called the emergency number to report that she was scared of a hedgehog in her back garden.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has released recordings of four irresponsible 999 calls made to the force as call handlers prepare for one of the busiest times of the year.
The recordings include one call from a man whose pizza had not been delivered after 45 minutes and another who wanted to report that a vending machine would not return his money.
Another man called the emergency line to report a sports shop for theft after it would not give him a refund for a pair of trainers.
The force has released the recordings to highlight the challenges faced by call handlers while they try to answer genuine emergency calls.
In one recording, the caller tells the call handler: “Hello, we’ve got a hedgehog in the back yard and we’re a bit scared.”
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In another, the caller says: “Hiya, it’s not an emergency service but I’ve been ripped off my food and I would like to report it to the police, please.”
When asked how he has been ripped off, he replies: “Err, I ordered a pizza 45 minutes ago and it’s still not been delivered to me.”
Call handlers at GMP received 3,451 emergency and non-emergency calls between 5pm and 5am on New Year’s Eve last year. Of those calls, 56 were classed as hoaxes.
Diane Grandidge, GMP’s business lead for call-handling, said “The Christmas and New Year period is the busiest time of year for our staff and every year we appeal to the public to be responsible in their use of the 999 emergency line.
“A large percentage of calls that are received on 999 are either non-emergency or simply calls that should not be made to the police.
“We want to ensure that there are no delays in responding to an emergency call. Therefore we will continue to urge the public to think before they dial 999.”
Ms Grandidge asked the public to use the 101 line for non-emergency calls.
To listen to the recordings, visit the Greater Manchester Police YouTube channel.
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