Ruth Mitchell

Campaign To Prevent 999 Abuse

A campaign has been launched on Teesside to put a stop to ‘inappropriate’ 999 calls.

The ‘use it-don’t abuse it’ campaign is targeting people who make unnecessary calls to the emergency number. Cleveland Police says more than one in ten of the thousands of phonecalls it receives each year are “completely inappropriate”, leading to wasted police effort and potentially putting at risk people involved in real emergencies.

Examples of some of the unnecessary 999 calls received over the past year include: reporting an electricity fault just as the match is about to start, broken down with a puncture, checking on bus times and reporting a fake robbery as a ‘joke’. The campaign, being launched on Century Radio, was developed after Pam Andrews-Mawer, who chairs Cleveland Police Authority’s Community Safety Panel, spent an evening in the force’s Communications Centre and saw at first hand how many non-urgent calls were made on the emergency lines. Pam said: “I really couldn’t believe some of the calls that came through.

People were ringing wanting to know the time of the last bus, where they could get a taxi or asking for help because they’d locked themselves out.“

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