Police are warning the public not to make time-wasting 999 calls after they received complaints of an undelivered fridge freezer and a hissing cat.
Police said Christmas and New Year is the busiest time of year for the emergency services, adding that over the last year 999 calls have increased by 11.2 per cent, which equates to an additional 216,000 calls.
The Met Police have released a list of 12 calls which did not require a response including a caller who said their dog was shaved instead of trimmed by a groomer and another who said they needed a lift home.
Extracts from 12 inappropriate 999 calls made to police this year:
“I am [at] Heathrow and I have left one of my bags in a taxi?”
“I have seen a fox walking outside the window and I wanted to report it in case it’s dangerous.”
“Basically, I’m in N8 and I’m trying to get home to Finsbury Park and I don’t have any money on me for a taxi - I want police to come and pick me up and take me home...”
“My mum put a deposit down on a fridge freezer and they haven’t delivered it - they keep changing the delivery date...”
“I’m lost and I’m looking for a building that I can’t find, can you tell me where it is?”
“I sent back my headphones because they are faulty and the manufacturer said they haven’t received them...”
“There was a bird in the store but it’s ok, someone has removed it now...”
“I want to report that I have lost my driving licence...”
“I have a dispute, I took my dog to be groomed and they shaved him instead of trimming him.”
“There is a cat following me down the road and it keeps hissing...”
“What time do the betting shops close in N18?”
“Can you give me the number for the non-emergency police?”
The increase in demand on the 999 service over the past 12 months is thought to be, in part, due to factors such as an increasing population and the reduction of some out-of-hours services by other service providers.
This increase has impacted upon service levels with 999 call handlers answering 999 calls, on average, in 11 seconds, with 75 per cent of calls answered within 10 seconds.
Chief Superintendent Pippa Mills, who leads the Met’s Command and Control Unit (MetCC), said: “Although the majority of people who require police assistance use the numbers correctly, there are still too many calls to emergency lines where the 999 number is being used as an information service.
“In many cases a simple internet search would provide the answer to the question posed by the caller.”She said the 999 number must be reserved for situations where a crime is actually in progress or someone is in danger, adding that calling the 101 number does not change the police response people would get in a non-emergency situation.