DORSET Police are offering advice on when to make a 999 emergency call, as the number of calls increase over the summer months.
Already this summer the force has seen a significant increase – in July they received 12,480 calls to 999 emergency, a 7% increase compared with the same time last year.
On average, a 999 emergency call takes about seven minutes to resolve. Before ending the call, the contact centre always makes sure the caller is safe and help has been arranged.
Each day, the police also receives calls to 999 emergency which are for non-emergency reasons. These can be to ask questions, report non-emergency issues and even hoax calls. Answering these calls prevents the force from helping someone in a real emergency.
Genuine 999 calls are assessed to make sure that the police are prioritising all incidents.
Within the Force Command Centre, officers are constantly reviewing and balancing their response to 999 demand, to determine whether some 999 calls are in fact not emergencies and to make sure we are responding to calls with the highest emergency need first.
As part of this year’s summer campaign on contacting the police, Dorset Police reminding its communities about when they should contact the police in an emergency and what to do if they dial 999 by mistake.
When to call 999
It is important everyone understands when to call 999.
Only dial 999 if:
- Life is at threatened
- People are injured
- Offenders are nearby
- Immediate action is required to save lives, stop injury, or catch criminals.
If you need to speak to the police for any other reasons, please use one of our online non-emergency contact channels or call 101.
What to do if you call 999 by mistake?
Unfortunately, the police also receive calls to 999 emergency which have been made by mistake.
These calls often happen by accident when a child is playing with a smartphone or when an unlocked phone is in a pocket or bag.
If you do dial 999 emergency by mistake – don’t hang up, please speak to the operator, and tell them you are safe before ending the call.
Police log every call, so if you hang up, they must then call you back to make sure you are safe which takes additional time and may prevent them from responding to other 999 calls.