Saturday, September 30, 2023

Essex Police make further appeal over misuse of 999 system

ESSEX Police have made a further appeal over misuse of the 999 system.

Thank you to all callers who contacted us in the last 24 hours through the most appropriate channels.

Yesterday, Friday 3 June, our call handlers in the Force Control Room (FCR) received over 480 calls via 101, the phone number for reporting non-emergency crime.

A further 987 calls were made to us using 999, and we answered 93% of these in 5 seconds. For the second consecutive day this level of response comfortably meets a newly-set Home Office target for UK police forces to answer 90% of 999 calls in under 10 seconds. Of these 987 calls, it resulted in 230 graded as an emergency.

Sadly, our busy call handlers continue to receive inappropriate calls to 999. Yesterday, we received a 999 call from a customer in a pizza shop calling us to complain that he had been waiting 30 minutes for his food. Another man also called 999 to ask what the time was.

All police emergency calls in Essex come through to our FCR, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has around 270 staff.

It might be a gloomier start to Saturday, but with the sun expected to come out later in the day and major events like Creamfields South music festival continuing, we expect demand to remain high.

Chief Supt Stuart Hooper, Essex Police’s Head of Contact Management, said: “I’d like to thank those people who contacted us yesterday through the channel that was most appropriate for their call.

“By doing so, you are freeing up our call handlers so that they can provide an almost instant response for people who find themselves in a real emergency and need to dial 999.

“Calling 999 must be a last resort and you should only use this service if you are reporting an emergency that requires an immediate and urgent police response.”

If you are considering calling 999 today, we would request that you please consider the following before dialling:

Is this a police issue or is another service better suited?
Is the information already on our website? – Please check online
Has a crime already happened and you want to report it? – Report online
Do you want to share some information with us or speak to someone specific? – Call 101
Is it an emergency? Is a crime happening right now, or is life or property at risk? – Call 999
Please help us to protect you.

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