Police emergency? It's your call!
13 December 2012
A NEW online challenge launched by West Midlands Police today puts users in the seat of a 999 call-taker and asks them to make their own split-second decisions about emergencies.
The interactive quiz presents a series of emergency situations to the user, based on genuine calls to the force, who then has to decide how quickly to respond.
Those quick decisions must be made in line with official ‘graded response’ guidelines, where calls are prioritised according to their urgency.
It is hoped the initiative will offer an insight into the diverse range of 999 calls received by police and demonstrate that many of these are not genuine emergencies.
Players are under pressure to decide on whether an immediate response is required or, if it’s not an emergency, how soon police officers should be sent to visit the caller.
The challenge forms part of the West Midlands Police ‘Letters of the Law’ initiative, with the focus today being on ‘E’ for ‘Emergencies’.
Superintendent Chris Johnson, from Force Contact, said: “We take almost 700,000 emergency calls every year here in the West Midlands and many of those do not require an immediate police response.
“While some of those calls are hoaxes and are made maliciously, in reality most people are simply unsure about which number is the best to use for their particular situation.
“That’s why we’ve come up with this challenge, based on real-life emergency calls that have been made to us. We want people to understand the range of calls we receive and to contextualise the meaning of the word ‘emergency’,
“Put simply – if there is no immediate threat to life or property and a crime is not in progress, your call should be made to the non-emergency 101 number.”
The aim is to cut the number of inappropriate calls and encourage greater use of 101.
It comes as the force continues to make major changes to the way it handles emergency and non-emergency calls, with a focus on delivering a more efficient service.
Supt. Johnson added: “We’ve recently undergone radical changes to the way we answer and respond to calls, which has seen significant improvements in the efficiency of our service.
“The public has a part to play too and if the four million calls made to us every year are done so in the right way and through the most appropriate channels, then we can provide an even better service.”
To have a go at the challenge and for further information about how the force handles emergency and non-emergency click here and then select ‘E’ for ‘Emergencies’.