NORTH Wales Police have shared audio from some of the calls their operators have had to deal with as they urge the public to only use 999 for real emergencies.

The force shared five examples of ‘emergency calls’ made over the last few weeks.

They included a dad planning a trip to North Wales who wanted to know what the weather would be like on Snowdon the following day, a disgruntled chip shop customer, and a driver who wanted to know where he could get diesel.

The information is being made public as North Wales Police highlight their ongoing #ReduceDemand campaign to help lessen the amount of unnecessary and inappropriate calls made to the Joint Communications Centre in St Asaph ahead of one of their busiest times of year.

On Boxing Day, the force tweeted that their operators were experiencing extreme demand.

Superintendent Mark Williams from the Force Control Room is urging people to make sure that they use the 999-line appropriately, and only contact the non-emergency line or live web chat if it is a police matter. He said: “Each unnecessary call to us reduces time available for calls which are for genuine policing matters. It is also a waste of operators’ time and clogs up the pressured 999 system.

“Traditionally Christmas and New Year are among the busiest times of year for the Force and we are simply asking people to use the 999 system wisely to help ensure a legitimate emergency is not missed over the festive period.

“Phoning 999 – which is an emergency line, for trivial matters such as to report a car with no wing mirror or to report last glasses is a complete waste of resources, and could possibly prevent a genuine life or death emergency call being put through. “Other examples have included a 999 call being made due to someone not remembering their combination code to get into a safe.

“Calling 999 because of concern regarding a drunk friend is not a matter for the police. Although the person who rang us had genuine concern for their friend, we are unable to provide a taxi service to get people home safe.

“As well as the 101 non-emergency line we also offer live webchat for people to contact us online for non-urgent matters. This is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We recognise that people may not always want or need to call us on the phone so we also offer other options, including email, and online reporting forms.

He added: “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 consistently making hoax calls they could face prosecution."

In 2020 North Wales Police received:

  • 79,834 emergency 999 calls
  • 250,975 non-emergency calls
  • 915 webchats
  • 58,131 emails

It can be hard to judge what is or is not an emergency, but in general, you should call 999 if:

  • A life is in danger or someone is being physically threatened, or if you are witnessing a crime happening at the time, or think the offenders are still nearby
  • You witness or are involved in a serious road traffic collision where someone is badly injured, or other vehicles are causing an obstruction or a danger to other road users