Argument over garden shed and reports of damaged lawnmower among calls to police in Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 13:36 04 October 2017

Supt James Sutherland - the officer in charge of public contact and now urging people to only call 999 in a genuine emergency

Supt James Sutherland - the officer in charge of public contact and now urging people to only call 999 in a genuine emergency

Philip Mynott +44(0)1223441995

Asking for a lift home, a family dispute about who owns a dog and a gambling machine not paying out are just some of the inappropriate reasons people have contacted police in Cambridgeshire.

From July to the end of September this year the constabulary received 33,518 calls to 999 and 85,936 calls to 101.

As demand for service remains high, police are urging people to only call 999 in an emergency and ensure the issue is a policing matter before dialling 101 or reporting online.

The constabulary regularly receives calls that should be directed to other organisations such as local authorities or the RSPCA.

Common examples of where the local authority should be contacted instead of police include reporting stray dogs and fly-tipping when the suspects are not at the scene.

Other examples of inappropriate calls during this period include a civil dispute over a garden shed, a man complaining that he was asked to leave a nightclub by security staff and a borrowed lawnmower being returned damaged.

People should dial 999 if there is immediate danger, a crime is in progress or the offenders are still at the scene. For non-emergencies that are a policing matter people should visit or dial 101.

Superintendent James Sutherland, head of public contact, said: “Demand for service remains exceptionally high and it is vital people only dial 999 in a genuine emergency. Inappropriate calls could put lives at risk by causing a delay in us speaking to people in danger.

“If there is a genuine reason to make contact then we are here to serve the public, but we need to ensure the right response is given as soon as possible to those who really need us.

“To help us do this please think about whether to call 999, 101 or another organisation if the issue isn’t a policing matter.

“We now have the facility to report non-emergencies via our website if people would rather make contact online than call 101.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “I have listened to some of the 999 calls coming into the control room myself and am frankly astounded at what some people are calling about.

“The police will always respond to people who find themselves in a genuine emergency however, at a time when the force continues to face increasing demand, it is vital that people understand which service to call.”

A campaign across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire has urged people to #ClickB4UCall. Some 101 calls are a request for information that can be found on the constabulary’s website.

To report non-emergency incidents online visit

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