60% of 999 calls were for non-emergencies, don’t waste the police’s time
999 is for emergencies only.
When you were young, you probably learned that dialling 999 would summon the officers of the law. However, it must only be used for emergencies. Call 999 for fun and risk more than just a caning from your mother.
But it looks like not everyone listened. People call 999 for frivolous reasons, like complaining about the cleanliness of common properties.
Tying up the hotline is a serious problem, as it prevents call operators from responding to genuine emergencies in time.
MP Joan Pereira raised the issue in Parliament on August 1, asking about the proportion of 999 calls made which did not require direct police intervention. She also asked how many calls had been made over the past three years, and how the police were handling it.
In a written reply, Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam said that:
“Between 2014 and 2016, Police received an average of about 1.3 million ‘999’ calls annually. This amounts to slightly more than 3,500 calls every day. About 40% of these calls required direct Police intervention, and Police resources were dispatched. The remaining calls were either nuisance calls or misdirected calls that did not require Police attention.”
If the public misused the hotline, police resources may be sent to false or non-serious cases, with officers away from the site of the real emergencies. Shanmugam warned that repeat offenders may be prosecuted in court.
Remember, the 999 hotline is meant for emergency use only. Use it to report a crime being committed, or if you’re in danger.
If you want to complain about other things, please consider calling your local town council or using the Municipal Services Office’s app.
The police have more important matters to attend to.
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Top image via diegoparra on Pixabay