Don't flood 999 on New Year's Eve, police urge public as officers prepare for busy night

Police preparing for a busy night as 2017 comes to a close
Police preparing for a busy night as 2017 comes to a close

Don't call us unless you really have to.

That's the message from police as call handlers prepare for a busy shift this New Year’s Eve.

Last year the New Year’s Eve saw a spike in the number of calls for service to the Northumbria Police control room with over 900 calls to 999 and 800 calls to the 101.

Northumbria Police said it creates a huge demand on the staff working in the communications centre who often have to deal with non-police matters instead of genuine emergencies.

Now police have asked the public to consider reporting non-emergency incidents online – and to only call if they need urgent assistance from police.

Chief inspector Paul Stewart, of the Communications Department, said: “This is one of the busiest nights of the year for our control handlers and historically we always see a spike in calls to police.

“We put plans in place to try and manage that demand but we do want to ask the public to help us by only calling us if they need urgent police assistance.

“The last thing we want is for people to have to wait on the phone to speak to one of our call handlers and so we would encourage you to look at our website before calling.

“There you will find other numbers for agencies who may be more appropriate to deal with your query. You will also find an online reporting form where you can submit a crime report without having to call us.”

Chief Inspector Stewart added: “Hundreds of calls come into our communications centres every day and we want to be able to deliver an outstanding service to everyone who gets in touch.

“We hope that the public can work with us so that we can make sure those people unfortunate enough to be involved in serious incidents can receive police assistance as quickly as possible.”

Northumbria Police receive around one million calls to the non-emergency number every year but roughly 15% of those are about non-police matters.

For more information on what matters the police can deal with, and to report an incident online, follow http://www.northumbria.police.uk/contact

The public should always call 999 in an emergency, which is when a life is at risk or a crime is happening.