RESIDENTS are being urged to think twice before calling 999 after new police statistics reveal that 80 per cent of calls are about non-emergencies.

Thames Valley Police have launched a new appeal to get people to think about whether they should really be calling 101 instead.

A police chief has warned that other lives are in danger when people dial 999 about a crime that happened ‘days ago’.

Oxford Mail:

He said that while some of the calls to 999 are hoax calls or ‘clearly inappropriate’ the majority of calls are because callers are unaware of how to get in touch with police.

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Explaining that the decision to use 999 ‘inappropriately could cost lives’.

Chief Superintendent Christian Bunt, the head of contact management for Thames Valley Police said: “I am keen to raise awareness of how you can contact the police when immediate help is not required.

Oxford Mail:

“In an emergency situation, every second counts, and ultimately using 999 to ask to speak to an officer or to report a crime that took place a few days ago, could delay police responding to someone who is in desperate need of help.

“I would like to ask members of the public to think before you dial.

“Is a life in danger? Is a crime in progress? If both answers are no, then please use our 24 hour non-emergency number 101, or contact us online. Of course, if either of these answers is yes, then you must call us immediately on 999.”

Oxford Mail:

101 is the non-emergency number for all police related issues, but the Thames Valley Police website can also be used to report the same type of crime – where no lives are in immediate danger.

The same people who take the calls at 101 also monitor reports and contact forms that are made online during the day and night.

Police say that each report will be ‘actioned’ within four hours of receiving it.