21 December 2018
A woman complaining that her bus driver was whistling, and a disgruntled diner, angry that his breakfast had not been served quick enough, were among some of the time-wasting 999 calls made to the Metropolitan Police over the past year.
Scotland Yard has released recordings of the most ridiculous and inappropriate calls it received in 2018.
Among them are a woman who dialled 999 on New Year's Day to wish officers a happy New Year.
In March a male caller phoned up because a fast food restaurant had run out of chicken.
Between 1 January and 30 November 2018, the Met’s Command and Control call centre took more than two million calls.
During that same period, the Met recorded 21,733 calls as hoax calls to the 999 number.
Chief Superintendent David Jackson, who is in charge of call handling for the Met, said: “Whilst some people will find these calls funny, they take away police resources at a time that police numbers and funding are stretched, and we must continue to make savings across the service.
“During the time that our call handlers are dealing with these time-wasting calls, a member of the public could be in real danger or have built up the confidence to call with an important piece of information that could take a dangerous person off the streets.
“Imagine if one of your friends or loved ones was in need of the police as quickly as possible and it turned out we could not help because we were having to deal with one of these hoax calls – I’m sure that you, like us, would be devastated and extremely annoyed.
"Whilst we do not want to deter or scare people from calling us, we must remind you that the use of the 999 system is for emergencies only.
“If you need the police, and it is not an emergency, please call 101. Alternatively, all crime, anti-social behaviour and other incidents can now be reported online 24/7 via our website.
“We also have a Twitter account, @MetCC, which people can tweet any non-emergency enquiries to 24/7.”