Fast-food shop running out of chicken among time-wasting 999 calls to police
A fast-food restaurant running out of chicken and a whistling bus driver were among the 21,000 time-wasting emergency calls taken by the Metropolitan Police this year.
Between January 1 and November 30, Met call handlers took more than two million 999 calls, but 21,733 of these were unnecessary, the force said.
Scotland Yard released recordings of seven of the time-wasting calls they received this year, including somebody wishing them a “Happy New Year”, and another moaning about how long it took a pub breakfast to be served.
In one call, a woman can be heard complaining about a whistling bus driver, saying people should be “respectful”.
She told the call handler: “Everybody’s tired, what if everybody starts whistling or singing on the bus?
“I don’t really like this because I think they must be respectful.”
Other callers complained about a lack of female taxi drivers, the doors of a broken-down bus being shut, and an argument with another driver about right of way.
Police have warned the public that time spent dealing with hoax and false calls takes officers away from fighting crime.
Chief Superintendent David Jackson, in charge of call handling at the Met, said: “Whilst some people will find these calls funny, they take away police resources at a time that police numbers and funding are stretched, and we must continue to make savings across the service.
“During the time that our call handlers are dealing with these time-wasting calls, a member of the public could be in real danger or have built up the confidence to call with an important piece of information that could take a dangerous person off the streets.
“Imagine if one of your friends or loved ones was in need of the police as quickly as possible and it turned out we could not help because we were having to deal with one of these hoax calls. I’m sure that you would be devastated.
“Whilst we do not want to deter or scare people from calling us, we must remind you that the use of the 999 system is for emergencies only.”