Taxi drivers

TVs broken and put away with taxi drivers – ‘inappropriate’ calls to 999 prevent police from dealing with real emergencies

The force issued alerts that “waste time” and distract call handlers from “real emergencies”.

The summer months bring increased pressures on officers, with the control room having to deal with around 300 999 calls “every day”.

The latest figures available show that in January 2022, 8,727 calls were made to 999.

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Some of the “inappropriate” calls made to 999 have come to light.

That number had risen to 9,771 by the following June, an increase of more than 1,000 – and chiefs say the trend is continuing.

Recent inappropriate calls for force include someone saying she was sold a broken television and a woman who said she couldn’t reach her GP for an appointment but wouldn’t call the ambulance service and “disturb them”.

A man also dialed 999 while sitting in a taxi he refused to get out of. Police said that in the background of the call, the taxi driver could be heard telling him not to call 999 and get out of his vehicle because he had been sitting there for 25 minutes.

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Force Control Room Superintendent Cath Galloway said: “Every hour of every day we are handling 999 calls through our Force Control Room.

“For most people who call, it’s probably the worst time of their life and it’s a real emergency where they need the help of our agents. Yet we also receive a large number of inappropriate calls.

“Getting faulty merchandise sold, a dispute with a taxi or needing a doctor’s appointment are clearly not life-threatening emergencies and the seconds it takes our call handlers to clear the line are seconds that a person in a real emergency has to wait.

“Our call handlers handle hundreds of calls every day with compassion and professionalism, but we want to ask everyone in our area of ​​​​force to help us manage the demand on 999 and only use it. in the event of a life-threatening emergency, serious violence or an ongoing crime. As the public expects, we must prioritize those calls requiring an immediate blue light response.

“You can report a non-emergency matter to 101, including getting updates on a crime you’ve already reported. You can also use our website www.cleveland.police.uk”