This is where the phone is not locked and accidentally calls 999.
Dorset Police is offering advice to callers who accidentally dial 999, in an effort to reduce unnecessary demand placed on operators.
There has been an increase in the number of 999 calls recently, many of which are abandoned. There are lots of reasons someone may abandon a call to the emergency services, for example a person calling in a crisis situation who is unable to ask for help.
A 999 call is recorded as ‘abandoned’ when the line is disconnected before the caller speaks to a member of the emergency services or confirms to a BT 999 operator that they are safe and well.
Superintendent Jared Parkin, head of Contact Management for Dorset Police, said: “When a 999 call is abandoned, it can waste precious time that could otherwise be spent helping someone with an emergency and potentially saving a life.
“When an emergency call is abandoned without speaking with the caller, operators in the contact centre spend such a long time researching the phone number and associated details to ensure there is no threat or risk to the caller.”
Last financial year, 2020/2021, Dorset Police received a total of 111,312 emergency 999 calls, of which 21% were actual emergencies.
Superintendent Jared Parkin continued: “We understand that accidents happen, but if you do call 999 by mistake, please stay on the line to tell us everything is ok – otherwise valuable resources are taken away from answering other calls.”
Here are some tips from Dorset Police to reduce the chance of accidental 999 calls:
- Keep your phone safe and out of reach from children
- Lock your phone before you put it in your pocket
- Talk to children about how and when to call for help in an emergency – but how prank dialling 999 for fun can have serious consequences for them and others
- If you dial 999, stay on the line. Otherwise we will call you back. The police want to know that you are safe and it saves us valuable time. Every second counts.
- Is your call an emergency? Is there a threat to a life, risk of harm or injury?
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