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Police reminder over 999 emergency line after ice cream complaint

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Police are reminding members of the public to only dial 999 in an emergency after a woman called officers to report a lack of sprinkles on her ice cream.

A woman called the force yesterday (June 2) to complain about a lack of topping on her tasty treat and today officers are reminding people to only dial 999 during an emergency.

Listen to the full call below.

Chief Superintendent Jim Andronov, head of the force’s Contact Centre, said: “Typically West Midlands Police receive over 1500 calls a day to the 999 number and our operatives have to deal with each one accordingly.

“Of these, some 10 to 20 per cent are not police matters and around 50 per cent are non-emergency calls where contact is appropriate via the 101 number.

“As well as the bizarre calls police also receive deliberate hoax calls which take up vital time.

“It’s astonishing listening to them but they hide a serious truth. Each call often takes minutes to deal with as staff have to clarify the situation - it might not sound like much but, if someone is trying to get through to report a genuine life or death emergency, then a minute is a very long time to wait.

“I cannot stress enough that the 999 number is for emergencies only, for guidance this is defined as: a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

“We do not want to discourage people from contacting the police so for any other reason call 101."