South Yorkshire Police urge people to think twice before dialling 101

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Police chiefs are urging people to think twice about dialing 101 and blocking genuine calls from getting through.

Call handlers said inappropriate calls have included people reporting a bat on their ceiling, complaining that their carpets had not been delivered on time and reporting a hospital for putting the phone down on them.

Every day staff at the Atlas Court call handling centre deal with around 2,000 phone calls.

Only half tend to be genuine calls to report crimes or incidents.

A new campaign has been launched urging people not to tie up police phone lines.

It urges people unsure about who to call to check a new police web page detailing what other services may be more appropriate.

To highlight the range of 101 calls received by South Yorkshire Police, details of all the calls will be posted on Twitter from 4pm to midnight on November 5.

Tracy Potter, head of force communications for South Yorkshire Police, said: “We understand the frustrations you have in trying to get through to the 101 number and have listened to your concerns.

“With nearly 2,000 calls a day, the call handlers are extremely busy. This campaign aims to highlight the correct way to use 101, to ensure the genuine calls to report an incident can get through.

“Our message is think before you call.

“We have developed a webpage, which offers advice about what is a police issue and what sits with another organisation, if you’re not sure please have a look at this before calling us.

“We have also listened to feedback from the public and you can now report an incident online, as an alternative to calling 101.’

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman added: “The genuine calls to report an incident can be quite complex and take the call handlers a considerable amount of time to ensure they are dealt with appropriately.

“When call handlers get calls that are not a police issue, they still need to be dealt with and sent onto the appropriate agency, which delays genuine calls from getting through.

“Throughout the campaign, we will be sharing genuine calls on our social media channels that we have had into 101 and asking people to think before they call.”

Visit southyorks.police.uk/whoyougonnacall to check whether calling 101 is appropriate.