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The 999 calls wasting police time

Thames Valley Police want us to think before we dial.

Published by Dan Gooding at 9:15am 8th August 2019. (Updated at 5:48am 12th August 2019) 2-minute read.

The 999 calls wasting police time

80% of 999 calls made to police in the Thames Valley are not actually emergencies.

TVP have started a campaign called 'Think Before You Dial' today (Mon).

It is after getting lots of calls like this:

One of the many the force deals with, which they say stop officers getting to real emergencies earlier.

Amy is a call handler for Thames Valley Police:

"It is sometimes ab it ridiculous.

"People don't think and it really is important to think before you call and think what is expected of the police and what we can do."

Amy has dealt with calls like the one above, saying it 'blew my mind'.

She gave us one example where she had a phone call from someone asking if they had car insurance or not.

Amy told us it's all about being as polite and respectful as possible, but also making sure the caller knows what to do next time.

A genuine emergency?

Chief Superintendent Christian Bunt told us it's important we all know the difference in services:

"We do have a lot of people calling in for what we would classify as non-emergency matters and what this does mean is that. at worse case, they could be putting people's lives at risk."

Which service should you use?


  • Crime in progress
  • Serious assaults, crashes 
  • Someone is still in danger
  • A missing vulnerable person or child
  • Hazardous lost items (e.g. firearms, toxins, chemicals)


  • A crime which is recent but not currently happening
  • To supply details to a witness appeal
  • A missing adult not in immediate danger

Report online

  • Non-recent crimes
  • Non-hazardous lost items
  • Stolen vehicles
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Supply details to an investigation
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