As part of our #BeyondTheBeat campaign to raise awareness of the hidden demands upon policing, this week sees the launch of our 'Who You Gonna Call' strand which focusses of the appropriate use of the 101 and 999 lines.
During the summer months, our Crime and Communication Centre experiences an increase in calls to 101 and 999.
The majority of these calls will be for genuine emergencies or will require police assistance.
However, some of these calls should be directed to other agencies, while others are entirely inappropriate and generate unnecessary workload on our team of call handlers.
John Flynn, Head of Contact Management, said: "This is the second time we have run this campaign and I hope by highlighting some of the inappropriate calls we have received that the public may reconsider picking up the phone to call us for an issue which could be better dealt with by our partner agencies or via our new and updated website.
"Of course we are always here for anyone who may unfortunately find themselves in an emergency, and we would not want to deter these people from contacting us. 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, if your query cannot be answered by checking our website. An inappropriate 999 call could mean somebody with a genuine emergency is kept waiting and lives could be lost."
The campaign will run predominantly on our social media channels using the hashtag #WhoYouGonnaCall. A live Tweetathon will also be held on Friday 25 May from our Crime and Communication Centre. You can follow this on Twitter @wiltshirepolice.
Assistant Chief Constable Gavin Williams added: "There are many hidden demands on modern day policing and with the summer being a particularly busy time for all emergency services, it's a great time to start the conversation with the public about the challenges we face.
"One of the busiest areas of the force during this time is our Crime and Communication Centre and I am very aware of the difficult, distressing calls they receive on a daily basis from people in need. However, I am also aware of the many inappropriate calls they deal with which can really tie up resources unnecessarily.
"I'd like to reassure our communities that we are committed to fighting crime and protecting the public but we need their help and the assistance of our partners to help tackle the ever-growing demand on our force."
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.