“The chip shop doesn’t have the sauce I want.”
“My kid won’t go to bed.”
“I’ve been given the wrong size pizza at the takeaway.”
“I’ve been robbed-the shop has given me the wrong change for milk.”
“Another dog has made my dog pregnant.”
“Can you tell me what number I’m ringing you on because I’ve forgotten my phone number.”
These are just some of the calls that South Yorkshire Police call handlers deal with on a daily basis.
As April 1 is upon us, officers are warning pranksters to re-think their antics this April Fool’s Day. Following a recent spike in nuisance calls, the force is appealing to the public to phone 999 or 101 only when it is appropriate, and necessary, to do so.
Every day call handlers at South Yorkshire Police’s call centre, Atlas Court, deal with around 2,000 calls. Only half of these are genuine calls to report a crime or incident, with the other calls encompassing requests for updates on investigations, non-police-related issues or hoax calls.
Genuine calls to report an incident can be quite complex and take the call handlers a considerable amount of time to ensure they are dealt with appropriately.
Superintendent Robert Chapman, Head of Communications at Atlas Court said: “It is incredibly frustrating for our call handlers to receive nuisance calls.
“Recently, we have had 28 silent calls in one day from an individual, which all turned out to be hoaxes.
“Every call we receive must be treated as serious, and so when faced with obvious pranks, it is a massive drain on valuable time and resources. It is frustrating that genuine callers are having to wait longer due to the increased workload nuisance calls create. The time wasted on these calls could be much better spent on genuine reports from the public.
“But, not only is it a waste of police time; misuse of 999 is a criminal offence, and if you are caught making a hoax call you could be fined or even sent to prison.
“We would urge the individuals making these calls to consider the consequences of their actions, and we hope that by sharing examples of the nuisance calls our handlers deal with, we can highlight the correct way to use 101 and 999 to ensure the genuine calls to report an incident can get through.”
If you would like to report an incident, head to South Yorkshire Police’s webpage for guidance on whether it is a matter for 101 or 999. You can also now report an incident online by following the link on the page. www.southyorks.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/
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