“Help, police: There’s a bat on my ceiling”

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DEAD cats, bats inside a house and carpets being delivered on time - just some of the bizarre reasons members of the public have called South Yorkshire Police.

It has launched a new campaign to remind people of the correct way to use its non-emergency number 101, after being inundated with calls that are not police issues.

Some of the examples of bizarre calls to 101 include:

- “There’s a dead cat in front of my house”

- “My carpet’s not been delivered on time”

- “There’s a bat on my ceiling”

- “The hospital has put the phone down on me.”

Everyday call handlers at the force’s Atlas Court centre deal with around 2,000 calls. Only half of these are genuine calls to report a crime or incident, with the other calls asking for an update on investigations, requests for a specific department or not police issues.

South Yorkshire Police said the genuine calls to report an incident can be quite complex and take the call handlers a considerable amount of time to ensure they are dealt with appropriately. When call handlers get calls that are not a police issue, they still need to be dealt with and sent onto the appropriate agency, which delays genuine calls from getting through.

Tracy Potter, head of Force communications said: “We understand the frustrations you have in trying to get through to the 101 number, and have listened to your concerns. With nearly 2,000 calls a day, the call handlers are extremely busy. This campaign aims to highlight the correct way to use 101, to ensure the genuine calls to report an incident can get through.

“Our message is think before you call. We have developed a webpage, which offers advice about what is a police issue and what sits with another organisation, if you’re not sure please have a look at this before calling us. We have also listened to feedback from the public and you can now report an incident online, as an alternative to calling 101.”

On November 5 the force will tweet out all the calls we get in from 4pm to midnight to highlight the range of calls our call handlers deal with.

Follow the campaign using the hash tag #whoyougonnacall.