West Midlands Police has issued a reminder over what warrants a call to the 101 non-emergency hotline, as the force enters its busiest period for call centre demand.
July has recorded the highest monthly tally of 101 calls in each of the last three years with anti-social behaviour, rowdy summer parties, domestic abuse, and alcohol related incidents keeping cops busy. But among the genuine calls for service West Midlands Police phone staff field hundreds of inappropriate questions or demands from members of the public.
In the last month alone 101 advisors have taken calls from people about botch-job haircuts, broken clocks, and broadband packages being faulty, plus general requests for phone numbers and even a complaint about the loudness of the ice cream vans chimes on their road. Head of Force Contact, Chief Superintendent Jim Andronov, said:
“The 101 number provides a vital service for people to contact us for non-emergency matters - but some people treat it as a general directory service.
“We take literally hundreds of spurious calls a month which take up valuable police time and delay us dealing with genuine police matters. Many of the queries could be resolved with a simple internet search so our message is: Think Before You Call."
There were around 11,266 more 101 calls made in May than April this year. June alone saw 6899 more calls than in May 2016. We therefore anticipate the pattern will remain on an upward trend at the end of July and leading into August as seen in previous years.
Examples of the proper use of 101 include reporting a car as stolen, damaged property, or anyone suspecting drug dealing in their neighbourhood.
West Midlands Police will be issuing a selection of 101 audio during August to highlight some of the inappropriate calls.