PARENTS complaining their child wouldn’t get off his Xbox is the feeble reason why one couple dialled 999.
Another emergency call was about a couch stuck in a doorway... and another rang for help to be reunited with a holiday romance.
These are just a few of the ‘emergency’ calls North Wales Police’s control room deal with on a daily basis.
During the past 12 months more than 11,000 calls made to the centre have been abandoned - the majority of these being 999 calls.
Police have warned a time-wasting phone call could be the difference between life or death at a time of genuine emergency.
Yesterday police launched a four-week campaign to educate the public on the use of the emergency and non-emergancy call lines, in a bid to reduce demand on control room staff.
During the launch police played audio to give examples of time-wasting calls - some truly jaw-dropping.
The first call heard a woman complaining that she had been “trying to get through to a catalogue company all morning” and it was “annoying” she couldn’t get through.
Another call, which lasted about four minutes, heard a woman complaining she’d got her couch stuck in the hallway.
After being told that this is not a police matter, she replied: “I haven’t got any money to ring anyone else.”
Other examples include a girl calling the non-emergency line asking for police assistance to find the heel from her stiletto – which she lost on a night out.
A man also emailed the control room saying he had lost a phone number for a girl he had met on holiday - asking for police assistance to trace her whereabouts.
People called complaining food orders from takeaways are wrong.
The eronious list went on and on and on.
Call centre manager Paul Shea recalled a man calling up reporting his son was “kicking off”– only for his wife to take the phone off him and say “it’s only because he will not get off his xbox”.
Mr Shea said: “We’re not seeking to embarrass people by playing these audios. It’s to highlight that while we are on the phone trying to be polite and educating the public, we’re not answering a call from people in genuine need.”
He said that the joint call centre, based on St Asaph business park, which is also used by the fire service, is busiest on Mondays.
He said there’s been an increase in calls to police because people don’t have enough credit on their phone to call anyone else.
Acting Supt Alex Goss urged people to make sure they use the 999 line appropriately and only contact the non-emergency line on 101 if it is a police matter.
He said: “Each unnecessary call to us reduces time available for calls on genuine policing matters.
“Phoning 999, the emergency line, for trivial matters such as being annoyed with catalogue companies is a complete waste of resources, and could possibly prevent a genuine life or death emergency call being put through.”
In 2012 the force received about 520,000 calls including emergency and non-emergency calls.
Figures show police received 87,712 emergency calls – 433,447 non-emergency.
But of those calls, only 225,000 incidents were recorded and just 46,000 were for crimes.
Supt Goss added: “Phoning 101 for non-police matters is also a waste of a resource.
“We’re currently working on creating a self-service tool on the North Wales Police website, which will assist those who do not require police to pass on their calls and enquiries to one of our relevant partners.”
“Phoning 999 for routine matters will not result in an improved service to the caller, who will be requested to ring back on the non-emergency number.
“We do have powers to prosecute people for misusing the 999 system and if people are found to be consistently making hoax calls, they could face prosecution.”
Police said people should call 999 only if there is a life is in danger, someone is being physically threatened, or if the caller is witnessing a crime happening at the time or think the offenders are still nearby.
Otherwise calls should only be made to the non-emergency line on 101.
North Wales Police will host a live webchat on the issue at www.north-wales.police.uk at 2pm on Thursday, October 10.