A police force in the UK is hosting a 24 hour 'Tweetathon,' today, Friday, to highlight some of the 'inappropriate' requests made by members of the public calling the UK emergency number 999.
In a statement today, West Midlands Police, the second largest police force in the UK, covering the main Midlands population centres of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry, said it would host a Tweetathon on Twitter to illustrate some of the ludicrous requests made by members of the public on the emergency number 999, the UK equivalent of 911 in the US and the 112 all emergency services number in continental Europe.
The one day campaign is part of the West Midlands Force's 'Letters of the Law' campaign designed to give the public a better insight into the police force's many workings and specialist services.
With all 999 emergency calls being recorded, some of the more outlandish requests made of West Midlands police can be listened to:
McDonalds service fail: A caller dials 999 to moan he is not getting served at a drive-thruWhat's my password?: A woman calls the cops as she's forgotten her laptop passwordHow do you dial 101?: A man dials 999 asking how to dial the non-emergency 101 number. Doh!
West Midlands police spokesperson Chief Inspector Sally Holmes, said,
"These calls are ridiculous and it doesn't end just there. We regularly receive calls on the 9s about lost property, people asking for directions and from people who have been denied entry to a nightclub.
"We are launching a 24 hour tweetathon tomorrow to show the array of calls made to the 9s - from serious and life threatening to bizarre."
"Its astonishing listening to them but they hide a serious truth. Each call often takes minutes to deal with as staff have to clarify the situation - it might not sound like much but, if someone is trying to get through to report a genuine life or death emergency, then a minute is a very long time to wait."
"I cannot stress enough that the 999 number is for emergencies only, for guidance this is defined as: a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened. To contact police for any other reason, call 101."
"Typically West Midlands Police receive over 1500 calls a day to the 999 number and our operatives have to deal with each one accordingly. Demand for our services often increases when we have issues such as recent heavy snow fall to content with."
The Tweetathon associated with the West Midlands campaign started at 7 a.m. (UTC) today and can be followed with the Twitter handle @wmpolice.