Police Scotland have taken to twitter to shame 999 time-wasters


SCOTTISH police have taken to Twitter in a bid to shame 999 time-wasters.

Callers wanting to know where they can buy milk or complaining about the wrong food order at a restaurant are among the idiotic calls to the lifesaving phone line,

Police Scotland recently introduced a 101 number for non-emergency calls but many members of the public complained they could not get through.

But the force, which has 20,457 followers on Twitter, wants to get across the message that 999 is not an alternative number except in genuine emergencies.

Police tweeted: “These are all genuine calls. Let’s start gently. A thirsty caller on 999 recently asked us where they could buy milk.”

They followed this up with: “999 caller complained about a fast food chain. They were given a hamburger instead of a cheeseburger. Waste of our time.”

One tweet even said:  ” This is also 100% genuine… A person dialled us on 999 to report that: “My friend has just stolen my heroin!” Seriously. #999PoliceScot.”

Another tweet read: “Drunk person called 999 to report woman for drug use. We asked how he knew this. He said: “Because I collect them for her.” “

While another said: “Someone dialled us on 999 & asked: “What’s your non-emergency number? Collective police sigh.”

Yet another revealed: “999 caller to our service centre: there’s a pigeon with a broken wing in my garden. Can you come out and help?”

While the force did admit that the call were “humorous,” they do have a “serious impact” on real emergencies.

They tweeted: “These 999 calls may seem humorous but remember, they have a serious impact on response times to genuine emergency incidents.”

The tweets proved a huge hit with the force tweeting two hours after they started: “@policescotland now trending in United Kingdom.”

Tweets throughout the day revealed yet more nuisance calls Police Scotland had received to their emergency line.

One caller asked the operator to buy them a bottle of vodka, while another claimed their neighbour had stolen their beach towel.

One tweet read: “Someone confused us with an off-licence. The #999PoliceScot caller: “Will you go & buy me a bottle of vodka?” Our reply – NO! *shakes head*”

While another said: “We received a 999 call from an intoxicated individual: “I’ve just been thrown out a nightclub & want to know why?”

Yet another read: “We enjoyed a decent summer this year. Cue this 999 call: “My beach towel has been nicked. I think it was my neighbour.”

Another tweet read: “ #999PoliceScot call: “Restaurant delivered the wrong carryout. It contained nuts, which I’m allergic to. What are they trying to do to me?!”

Someone even called up to report that the phone he was using had been stolen.

The tweet read: “Caller on 999 says phone has been stolen. When asked what phone he is calling from – he hangs up… He was speaking on it!”

While police said that a “common” waste of time was people asking for a lift home.

A tweet said: “This is a common time wasting 999 call to our staff: “I cannae afford a taxi home, any chance of a lift?” #999PoliceScot

The tweets were issued under the hashtag #999PoliceScot.

Follower Christopher Robertson tweeted: “Although funny, there are elderly and others with mental health issues. And there are the idiots of course who should know.”

While Adele McVay said: “You should name and shame these stoaters.”

Calum Gorrie tweeted: “These people are just ignorant. Surely they should be cautioned for wasting police time #don’t be a dingbat”

Since Police Scotland was formed in April, the force said they have received 888,783 calls to the 101 number.

In the same time 648,818 calls have been made to the emergency 999 line.

However, in July it was reported that 15,000 callers to 101 had hung up or been cut off while waiting to speak with an operator.

Sergeant John Kerr of Contact, Command and Control division said: “Although a number of our examples will seem pretty amusing, there is a very serious message to remember too.

“Our staff treat every incoming 999 call with the same level of seriousness, so when we receive inappropriate ones we risk being unable to answer a genuine emergency call as quickly as we’d like to.

“We are trying to raise awareness amongst the public about the differences between 999 and 101 – the main contact numbers for police. We’ve highlighted a few of the inappropriate calls we’ve taken from the public on the 999 system, with one person calling recently to ask for a pint of milk – this is not an emergency.

“This number is to be used only in genuine emergencies when a crime has occurred, for example, where someone is breaking into your car or your house. 101 should always be used in a non emergency, for example, if someone has broken into your car or house but the perpetrator has left.”