Saturday 1 October 2016

Loud ice cream van chimes and botched haircuts among calls to police 101 line

Published 02/08/2016 | 09:51

West Midlands Police said some members of the public treated its 101 number as a 'general directory' service
West Midlands Police said some members of the public treated its 101 number as a 'general directory' service

A police force has revealed details of hundreds of spurious calls to its non-emergency hotline - including reports of over-loud chimes on an ice cream van and a bird falling from a tree.

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West Midlands Police said some members of the public treated its 101 number as a "general directory" service - posing questions which could be easily solved by an internet search.

Other complaints received by the force saw an apparently elderly woman complain of dog-fouling in her garden and another caller claiming there were "two million wasps on my street".

Demand on the 101 service has peaked in July during each of the last three years due to anti-social behaviour, rowdy summer parties, domestic abuse, and alcohol-related incidents.

In the last month alone, 101 advisers in the West Midlands have taken calls from people about "botch-job" haircuts, broken clocks, and broadband problems.

General requests for phone numbers have even been fielded by call-handlers.

Head of force contact Chief Superintendent Jim Andronov said: "The 101 number provides a vital service for people to contact us for non-emergency matters - but some people treat it as a general directory service.

"We take literally hundreds of spurious calls a month.

"These take up valuable police time and delay us dealing with genuine police matters. Many of the queries could be resolved with a simple internet search so our message is: Think before you call."

Examples of the proper use of 101 include reporting a car as stolen, damaged property, or anyone suspecting drug-dealing in their neighbourhood.

Press Association

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