Wiltshire Police has today launched a campaign to raise awareness of the appropriate use of the 101 and 999 phone numbers.
The campaign, entitled ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ will run on social media throughout this week and will culminate in a 12-hour tweetathon on Friday 22nd January.
As well as highlighting when and when not to call 999 and 101, the campaign also aims to reduce demand on the service, signpost the public to partner agencies who may be able to better deal with their concerns, and showcase the good work of our call operators.
In 2015, Wiltshire Police received a total of 325,075 101 calls and 63,016 999 calls. Each month, our Crime and Communication Centre in Devizes receives an average of 32,341 calls through 999 and 101. Last month alone, our call operators dealt with 5,488 999 calls. The majority of these calls will be from people in a genuine emergency. However, the Force is continuing to receive a small number of calls that are inappropriate and a waste of valuable police time.
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “It’s very important to me that Wiltshire Police is always seeking to improve its standard of service. That means, among other things, an unfailing and timely response to calls for help from the public.
“In 2014 I invested the money to allow a full makeover of the Crime and Communication Centre. As a result we now have a much more effective and efficient working environment, and that helps the excellent team who work here to provide the best possible service to the people of Wiltshire and Swindon.”
Chief Constable Mike Veale said: “999 – it is a number everyone knows, whether they are three or 93. Fortunately, not all of us will ever need to dial it, but for those that do, it is likely to be a time of panic, hysteria, anger and confusion. Our trained call handlers deal with these extreme emotions on a daily basis and always in a calm and professional manner.
“It’s a talent I have always admired during a career spanning more than 30 years in the police service. When faced with calls from desperate people, in desperate circumstances, our call handlers have the training, skills and compassion required to respond accordingly. Some of them are not long out of school or college themselves yet their approach to sensitive and challenging situations continues to amaze me.
“Speak to any call handler and every single one of them will have a story to tell – someone else’s emergency which they have found themselves in the centre of with the click of just three numbers. It’s a huge responsibility and it can happen at any time, whether you’ve been in the job weeks, months or years.
“However, we cannot stress enough how important it is to think before you dial 999. Is it an emergency? Do you need a police response immediately? And is the crime in progress right now? If not, call 101. An inappropriate 999 call could mean somebody with a genuine emergency is kept waiting. Lives could be lost. Please think.”
999 is the number to call when you want to contact the police in an emergency. Dial 999 if:
– You need an immediate response because a crime is in progress or you think it is.
– You or someone else is injured or there is a threat to life.
– A serious road traffic collision has taken place.
– Violence is being used or threatened.
101 is the number to call when you want to contact the police – when it’s less urgent than 999. Dial 101 in a non-emergency if:
– You want to report a crime/issue that does not require an immediate emergency response.
– You or someone else are not in immediate danger
– You would like to speak to your local police officer.
– You want to provide information about a crime.