Everyone knows the 999 number is for emergencies only, but that doesn’t stop some people calling for the most ridiculous reasons.
Tips on how to cook turkey and checking fixture dates for football matches are among the most absurd the service has had this year.
Merseyside Police has compiled a list of its top five time-wasting 999 calls of 2020 as they ask the public not to abuse the system.
Some of the most recent, unneeded calls include one resident finding a rat in the kitchen as well as another asking when their local doctor opens up the Liverpool Echo reports.
In 2019, the Merseyside Police call handlers took around 230 calls to the 999 emergency number that they logged as hoax calls.
They highlighted some of the worst to remind people that time wasting stops calls getting through which could involve real life-threatening situations.
THE TOP FIVE MOST RIDICULOUS 999 CALLS
I have a ghost in my house
There’s a rat in my kitchen
Do you know what time the doctors’ opens?
One caller phoned the police to report they had a dry mouth
Is it Everton or Liverpool who are at home this week?
One of Merseyside Police’s Call Handling Managers, Don McShane, said that the hoax callers not only interfere with responses of genuine emergencies, and possibly risk lives, but those making them face prosecution for their actions.
He said: “Christmas and New Year are traditionally among the busiest time of the year for the police, and especially for us in the Force Contact Centre, so it’s especially important to ensure the real emergency calls get through.
“Unfortunately, we do get calls that are clearly not emergencies. One year we even got a 999 call to ask us how long to cook a turkey for.”
“We need people to use their common sense and to only use the 999 numbers for genuine emergencies.
“The bottom line is that a hoax call, or one that is not a genuine emergency where someone needs the police, could cost someone their life.
“Calls such as these are wasteful of the Force’s time and resources.
“Please use the 999 service for emergencies only. This includes a crime in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is a danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.”
“Inappropriate use of the 999 service prevents the police answering genuine emergency calls, preventing genuine callers getting help and places the lives of others at risk.”
There are other ways to contact your local police, if not in an emergency.