A lost tortoise, a man coughing too loudly and someone who lost their keys - just a few of the calls made to Northumbria Police’s 999 emergency call handlers.

Police are urging the public to be considerate when using 999 service this summer.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 12:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 6:17 pm
Police force urge people to be considerate when using 999 this summer.

While the calls might seem humorous, the Force has taken the decision to release the conversations to illustrate the dangers of misusing the 999 service.

Superintendent Mark Hall, from Northumbria Police’s Communications department, said: “Over the summer months we do see demand increase significantly to both our 999 emergency and 101 emergency lines in terms of call volume.

“We know that demand rises due to a number of reasons and would ask that the public work with us to help ensure those in need can receive police assistance as quickly as possible.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Superintendent Mark Hall from Northumbria Police’s Communications department

“It is no secret that we experience spikes in anti-social behaviour over the next few weeks and that can account for a number of these calls but we do see more nuisance calls over the summer months.

“It is not appropriate to ring 999 because you want a lift or because you’ve got a complaint about a burger you’ve bought from a takeaway after a night out.

“We would also like to make it clear that it is completely unacceptable to waste police time and call our lines when you can’t get hold of the service you need, we are not a telephone directory service, we are a working police force.

“We take thousands of calls in our centres every day and we want to be able to deliver an outstanding service to everyone who gets in touch.

“Improvements have also been made to our website and now with an online form and a live chat function we have more ways than ever before for you to contact us.

“But these nuisance calls may stop us from getting help for a vulnerable person in need so all we would ask is that you think twice before picking up the phone and ringing the police on 999 if it is not an emergency.”

Last summer, calls made to both 999 and 101 lines increased significantly. There were 20,676 emergency calls taken in June, 22,943 in July and 21,323 in August. Non-emergency calls also increased with 27,284 calls made to 101 in June, 28,503 in July and 32,961 in August.