Public warned of the true cost of abandoned 999 calls

Published 28 December 2018

Staff and officers at Police Scotland’s Contact, Command and Control (C3) Division are urging the public to be aware of the demands dropped 999 calls place on the service.

Between 0600hrs on Christmas Day and 0600hrs on Thursday 27 December this year, staff in Police Scotland Service Centres dealt with 807 abandoned 999 calls. This amounts to almost a quarter of all 999 calls within this 48 hour period.

Officers have seen the number of dropped calls to the emergency line steadily increase and are predicting a surge over the festive season as people get to grips with gifts of new mobile phones and portable technology.

Children being given their parents phones are also thought to be responsible for a number of these calls, as are phones being put into pockets or handbags without the screen being locked.

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, C3 Division Commander, said, “We appreciate accidents happen, that children can hit buttons and not understand the consequences.

“But the impact of hundreds of dropped 999 calls a day adds up. Each 999 call has to be investigated to ensure the safety of the caller. That ranges from cross-referencing the number on our systems to see if there have been previous calls, to calling back the number. This all takes up time which could be spent handling genuine emergency situations and helping people in times of real distress.

“Our advice is simple – if you call 999 by accident, and the call is answered, please explain what’s happened. It’ll only take a few seconds and will enable the call to be cleared with no issues.”

In a true emergency, Police Scotland can always be reached by dialling 999. If you need police assistance and it’s not an emergency, please call 101.

Contact Details

Call 101 for non-emergencies and general enquiries, in an emergency call 999. If you have information about a crime you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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