Hertfordshire Constabulary received a 999 call from a man who was concerned about a duck in a car park in Watford.
The man called at 3.28am on Friday, March 2 to say he was worried about the bird’s welfare due to the cold weather.
The call handler informed the man that this was not a police matter and he should not be calling 999. He was advised to contact the RSPCA about his concerns.
Superintendent Mike Trotman from the Constabulary’s Force Control Room (FCR) said: “This is an example of the emergency 999 number being used for completely the wrong reason. While it is admirable that the man was concerned for the duck, by calling 999 he could have delayed getting help to those truly in need of assistance and facing an emergency situation.
“Our call handlers are always busy dealing with both emergency 999 and non-emergency 101 calls, as well as online reports and contact from the public via our webchat facility so it is really important that people only contact us for the right reasons.
“Please think before you pick up the phone and dial 999.
“Always dial 999 if:
- Someone is injured, being threatened or is in danger.
- There is a risk of injury to someone or a risk of serious damage to property.
- A crime is in progress or you suspect a crime is in progress.
- There is a serious incident which needs immediate police attendance.
- Someone suspected of a crime is nearby.
“When there is no immediate threat to life or property please make use of our online options, which include a web chat facility to speak directly to a communications operator www.herts.police.uk/contact_us/contacting_us.aspx or call 101.”
Typical examples of when you should contact us online or call 101 include:
- If you want to give police information about a crime that is not currently in progress.
- To contact a local police officer, such as someone from your Safer Neighbourhood team.
- If your property has been stolen or damaged but it is not a crime in progress.
- If you suspect drug dealing or use in your area.