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15 September 2011, 07:12 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
Tens of thousands of nuisance 999 calls are made to police in Leicestershire every year.
Now the force has told Capital they're getting tough on the callers - and they WILL get caught out. 10% of genuine calls cannot be answered immediately when hoaxers make hundreds of 999 prank calls to the police.
Superintendent Jez Cotterill says lives are being put at risk when people waste time with calls about lost parrots, missing lighters and numbers for fast food.
Nottinghamshire Police say they see a few problems, but in Derbyshire its not a major issue.
Superintendent Jez Cottrill is Head of the Leicestershire Police Call Management Centre which deals 999 and non-emergency calls. He said:
“We strive to ensure the effective and efficient use of our resources at all times. Prank, hoax and inappropriate calls take vital resources away from the vulnerable and those in dire need of assistance or protection. On some days of high demand, we are unable to answer all emergency calls due to nuisance callers; this is genuinely putting lives at risk.”
When should you call 999?
Dialling 999 is a must if you are facing an incident or crime right now and you need police help immediately.
Such emergencies may include:
In all other circumstances, you can dial 0116 222 2222 or Crimestoppers which is free* and anonymous on 0800 551 111.
*Some mobile phone network operators may charge for this call