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Lincolnshire Police urges people to think before calling emergency services in #NOT999 campaign

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A police force is urging people to think before calling 999 as Christmas proves one of the busiest times for call takers.

Lincolnshire Police has launched the #NOT999 campaign to raise awareness of when it's appropriate to call 999.

This time of year is one of the busiest for call takers who answer the emergency 999 calls, especially in the evenings.

Stock picture of a person holding a mobile phone
Stock picture of a person holding a mobile phone

Police say a genuine emergency, when it is appropriate to call 999, is where life or property are in immediate danger. Otherwise, if it’s a policing matter, people should call 101.

Last Christmas, between December 20 and January 2 Lincolnshire Police received an average of 265 emergency 999 calls each day, despite the county being in a Tier 4 lockdown, some of which were hoax calls.

Non-emergency calls waste time, and police terminate these as they could stop someone with a genuine life threatening emergency getting through.

While the force receives calls which may be driven by mental health issues, they describe most other calls that aren't genuine emergencies as 'simply unbelievable'.

Call takers have received calls asking for train times, a number for a dentist, calling to report someone had no water and that someone’s boyfriend wouldn’t kiss her.

Mike Modder-Fitch, head of the Force Control Room, said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves. We will be there if you need us but we’d much rather spend Christmas with nobody to speak to.

"There are many reasons why someone would need to call the 999 line, where someone is injured, where a crime is happening right there and then and someone or something is in immediate danger. If this is happening then call us on the 999 line.

“If we feel it’s not a genuine emergency, but still a policing matter, we will put you through to a colleague who can still help so that it will not tie up the 999 lines.

“When it’s a hoax call or simply not a policing matter we have to terminate the call to free the lines.

"If you’re on a night out and one of your drunk mates things it’s OK to call the 999 line, my ask is that you stop them from wasting our and their time.

“It could really make a difference to a genuine call. We can’t help with food orders, taxis or the number for dentists.”

The Lincolnshire Police website provides further details on how to contact the force and the different ways to report crime or to find information or advice.

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