South Yorkshire Police condemn caller for dialling 999 to report lost false teeth

South Yorkshire Police have condemned a caller who dialled 999 to report a lost set of false teeth.
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Another caller dialled the 999 emergency number to report an issue with obtaining a shop refund, they revealed

Details of the calls have been released by South Yorkshire Police in an attempt by the force to highlight the demand call handlers face and how inappropriate calls divert staff from genuine emergencies.

South Yorkshire Police's call handling centre, Atlas CourtSouth Yorkshire Police's call handling centre, Atlas Court
South Yorkshire Police's call handling centre, Atlas Court
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This month, staff at Atlas Court’s call handling centre, answered over 45,000 calls from members of the public.

Between January 1 and 26, a total of 17,732 calls were made via the 999 system.

The average length of time it took for a 999 call to be answered was 12 seconds.

There were a total of 27,158 calls to the 101 system answered over the same period of time, with the average wait time three minutes and 28 seconds.

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Head of force communications Colin Beeks said: “We get a lot of questions about how many calls we deal with, so we thought it might be useful for the public to see these statistics.

“I hope it gives people a bit of an insight into the work my teams do.

“Amongst all the genuine calls for service, we deal with some that are wholly inappropriate. This month some of the highlights - or should that be lowlights - include a member of the public who called 999 to report they had lost their false teeth, and another person who called the emergency number after they couldn’t get a refund in a shop.

“These are amusing on the face of it, but actually, when those people are calling us, someone’s life may be at risk and they’re in the queue behind these irresponsible callers.

“Please think before you call.”

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During one 15-minute period on New Year’s Day, the force received a 999 call every 12 seconds.

A total of 2,647 calls were made on New Year's Day – up by 348 on the year before.

Between 11pm on New Year's Eve and 5am on New Year's Day, there were 1,014 calls made, of which 699 were via 999.