Hundreds of abandoned 999 calls made to police on Christmas Day

Police received hundreds of abandoned 999 calls over Christmas.
Police received hundreds of abandoned 999 calls over Christmas.
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New mobiles received as a gift and children being given their parents’ phones to play with are believed to be among the sources of 800 abandoned 999 calls made over Christmas.

Police Scotland staff handled 807 emergency calls where the caller hung up without providing information, between 6am on Christmas Day and the same time on 27 December.

The force said abandoned calls to the emergency line have been increasing and they predicted a surge over the festive season as people tried out new phones they received as gifts.

Children given their parents’ phones are also thought to be responsible for a number of the calls, as are phones being put into pockets or handbags without the screen being locked.

Police warn abandoned calls place further pressure on the force as each one has to be investigated.

They advise people who call by accident to come clean instead of hanging up to reduce the burden caused.

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging said: “We appreciate accidents happen, that children can hit buttons and not understand the consequences, but the impact of hundreds of dropped 999 calls a day adds up.

“Each 999 call has to be investigated to ensure the safety of the caller. That ranges from cross-referencing the number on our systems to see if there have been previous calls, to calling back the number.

“This all takes up time which could be spent handling genuine emergency situations and helping people in times of real distress.

“Our advice is simple - if you call 999 by accident and the call is answered, please explain what’s happened. It’ll only take a few seconds and will enable the call to be cleared with no issues.”