Monday 27 March 2017

There's a rat in my kitchen - police to offer appointments to bogus 999 callers

Merseyside Police have released non-urgent 999 calls to show the problem.
Merseyside Police have released non-urgent 999 calls to show the problem.

A rat in a kitchen and the wrong takeaway delivery are among 999 calls released by a police force as it introduces an "appointments system" for callers.

On the calls to the 999 service, a disgruntled customer can be heard complaining about the wrong delivery of food from a takeaway, a woman tells the call handler, "I've got a rat in my kitchen and I've been ringing the housing...but I'm terrified, literally," and a man who wants officers to retrieve his coat from a bar because he is not allowed back in.

Merseyside Police wants to highlight the amount of non-urgent calls it receives requesting immediate police assistance.

The force says of 2,500 calls a day, up to 2,000 of those do not require immediate help and this week it launches an appointment system for non-urgent callers who require a visit from an officer.

Instead of waiting for the first available patrol, the call handler will arrange a convenient time either at their home, or their local police station, to see an officer.

Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, head of the force Contact, Crime and Resolution department, said: "Currently we dispatch patrols to those non-urgent calls when an officer is available, but this is not always convenient for the caller.

"We hope that the introduction of the new appointment system will make the caller's experience of police contact more convenient and less stressful, by providing a time and location that is convenient to them and fits in with their work and family schedule.

"There are still a lot of people out there who call the police in relation to incidents which do not require a police service. We receive calls about all sorts of issues from rat infestations to cats up trees and blocked drains, because people aren't sure who they should contact. These types of calls can put extra pressure on our call handlers and could slow down their ability to respond to a caller who is in urgent need of a police response."

People should only call 999 if a crime is in progress, someone is injured or people are in danger, or a suspect is still in the vicinity, police said.

As well as the non-urgent 101 number, members of the public can report non urgent crimes via a direct e-mail account, COMMCEN@merseyside.pnn.police.uk, or via the force website https://www.merseyside.police.uk/contact-us/report-crime-online/.

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