independent news and information website for the towns and villages which lie alongside the River Dee in north Wales, from Connah's Quay to the border with Chester.

Police 999 call: “I’m trying to get through to Adult XXX”

A man calling 999 because of he unable to get through to an adult ‘XXX’ website and another who blew his ‘fag’ out when he sneezed are just some of the examples of the 999 calls North Wales Police have received over recent months.

Recordings have been made public as police continue their #DontTieUpTheLine campaign in a bid to lessen the pressure on the 999 service and reduce unnecessary and inappropriate calls at one of the busiest times of the year.

Latest figures show that in the past year North Wales Police received almost 410,000 calls; including emergency and non-emergency calls.

Over the festive period between December 15th 2016 and 3rd of January 2017, North Wales Police received 4,407 ‘999’ calls and 14,984 ‘101’ calls.

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Temporary Superintendent Nick Evans from the Joint Communications Centre is urging people to only use the ‘999’ line in an emergency, and ensure that calls to the non-emergency ‘101’ number are for policing matters.

He said: “Each unnecessary call to us reduces time available for calls which are for genuine policing matters.

“Traditionally Christmas and New Year are among the busiest times of year for the police and we are simply asking people to use the 999 system wisely to help ensure a legitimate emergency are prioritised over the festive period.

“Phoning 999 – which is an emergency line, for trivial matters such as to report a cat stuck up a tree is a complete waste of resources, and could possibly prevent a genuine life or death emergency call being put through.”

Other previous examples of inappropriate calls made to North Wales Police have included;

  • request for taxis
  • a broken television set
  • a complaint about a cold take away meal.

Police also say there has been a recent spate of children phoning 999 from payphones and one example includes a child phoning 999 whilst being taught by Mum who was teaching her child regarding how and when to use the system.

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T/Sup Evans said: “We strive to answer all calls as quickly as possible, but due to the variable volume of calls in to police communication centres, waiting times for the non-emergency line will vary.

For example an RTC on a main trunk road will result in a particularly large call volume. ‘999’ calls will always be prioritised but please do not be tempted to misuse the number for routine matters, as such callers will simply be advised to call back on the non-emergency number.

“We do have powers to prosecute people for misusing the 999 system and if people are found to be consistently making hoax calls they could face prosecution.”

Police say it can be hard to prescribe what is or is not an emergency, but in general, you should call 999 if:

  • a life is in danger or someone is being physically threatened
  • if you are witnessing a crime happening at the time, or think the offenders are still nearby
  • You witness or are involved in a serious road traffic collision where someone is badly injured, or other vehicles are causing an obstruction or a danger to other road users

Otherwise, calls should be made to the non-emergency line, North Wales Police also offer live webchat for people to contact officers online for non-urgent matters which is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.