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People are calling 999 over prank phone calls, bad driving in Dartford and for help buying a car

PUBLISHED: 10:21 14 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:49 14 July 2017

Kent Police Control Room

Kent Police Control Room

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Police have issued advice on when to call 999

Police are uring 999 callers to “think first” before picking up their phones, after nearly half of calls made to the emergency number were found to be inappropriate during a shift last month.

Callers have dialled to complain over a number of non-emergency issues including; receiving a prank call and getting information on a car being sold.

Ch supt. Nicola Faulconbridge, head of crime and incident response at Kent Police, said: “We want people to think whether their call really does constitute a real emergency.

“Every inappropriate call to 999 puts the lives of people in a genuine emergency at risk.”

Among the other calls listed by Kent Police was a a report of speeding in Dartford, which offered no licence plate for the alleged offender.

Another caller from Dartford called to complain of bad driving, which had happened 10 minutes prior to the phone call.

The only reason the caller did not dial the non-emergency 101 number is that they didn’t want to wait in a queue.

On average, 1,500 calls are made to the Kent 101 number every day, with 900 calls to Kent Police on 999.

During a seven-hour shift last month, 70 of the 158 calls to 999 were found to be inappropriate and did not need an emergency response.

“We are currently experiencing an extremely high number of calls to both 999 and 101 and I know at peak times it can take us longer than usual to answer 101 calls,” said Ch Supt Faulconbridge.

Adds Matthew Scott, Kent’s police and crime commissioner: “Our operators do answer calls as quickly as possible, and I’d ask people to be patient and try again later if possible.

“I know it can be frustrating for the public to have to wait for 101 calls to be answered. I have been holding the chief constable to account for this and response times are improving.”

Police are now urging residents to only dial 999 if:

· There is a danger to life or a risk of injury being caused imminently. Examples include serious road accidents, assaults or serious disorders.

· A crime in in progress. Examples include assault, burglary, and theft or if an offender is still on scene, or has just left the scene.

· Police attendance is required immediately such as to prevent a breach of peace, someone acting suspiciously or someone who is about to commit an offence.’

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