999 is it even an emergency!?

I’m certain this isn’t a problem that just the Police face, but one that all emergency services face.

999 is an emergency number. 101 is for non-emergency matters.

From Google –



1 1.
a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.


So why, on literally a daily basis, do we get calls to 999 which just aren’t justified.  With the ever growing expectation that the Police are there to solve everybody’s problems, at a time when we are on the bones of our arses with respect to resourcing (or the lack of) we just can’t meet demand.

Wasting our time at a 999 call which isn’t serious or dangerous (See definition above) is one of my pet hates.  Being at that job, means that I can’t be at the job I need to be at.  I can’t be at the genuine emergency.  I can’t be helping my colleagues who are getting assaulted.  I can’t be looking for the high-risk missing person with dementia.  I can’t be relieving my colleague who’s been on a scene guard all shift without food or time for a wee.

I will do my best at whatever job I end up at, and I will try my best not to let my frustrations show, but for heaven’s sake just take a minute and think before you call us, please.

Police, and Ambulance for that matter (I would like to say that people don’t call Ambulances unless it is a genuine emergency, however I know for a fact that sadly, that’s not true either), are emergency services.   We are not social workers.  We are not people to call because your 8 year old child has shouted at you.  We are not a taxi service. We are not counsellors for your mate who has had 1 (or 5) too many pints.

We are however, the people who risk our lives to protect yours.  Who hold your hand when you’re scared.  Who comfort you when we’ve told you the worst news imaginable. Who protect you by arresting those who have hurt who. Who try our best to help you in whatever way we can.  No matter what you’ve done to us before, or what you may do to us in the future, we are always there when you need us most.

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