Switch to 101 for police calls

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West Yorkshire Police is reminding people to dial 101 when making non-emergency calls to officers and not to abuse the 999 emergency number.

The 101 number is now being used by all Police Forces across England and Wales for non-emergency calls.

West Yorkshire Police began using 101 back in November, but some members of the public continue to call the old number.

Mark Milsom, Assistant Chief Constable for Specialist Operations, said: “101 is easy to remember and easy to call.

“Many people are already making use of 101, but we are still receiving calls to the old number.

“For the time being people who ring the old number are being instructed to re-dial 101, but when this number is switched off it is likely that calls will not get through to operators.”

Officers are also warning residents not to abuse the 999 emergency number after a number of spurious calls were received in the last month.

On 17 December this year, a man called police to report a fight between two Eastenders characters in the 2009 Christmas Day episode of the soap.

To listen to the call visit: http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/wypuploads/audio/eastenders.wav

A woman also asked operators to pass her phone number to film star Mark Wahlberg, with others including people asking for the time, singing to operators or playing music down the line.

ACC Milsom said: “The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year and, although we have plans in place to manage this, officers should not be wasting time dealing with inappropriate calls instead of genuine emergencies.

“Over the Christmas period we had an unprecedented demand on the 999 service.

“For example on the night of Boxing Day we took 1,100 calls between 7pm and 4am. And in one hour – 12 midnight to 1am - we took 203 calls to the 999 number. It was relentless and unprecedented.”

The old 0845 number will be switched off in the near future so residents are being urged to take note of the 101 number.