A woman dialled 999 to call police from a hairdresser’s because her new haircut was “a mess”, one of Yorkshire’s four forces has revealed.
Humberside Police say they got a call last Friday from the woman who was refusing to pay and was seeking legal advice.
It is not known where the call came from, but the force posted a message about it on Twitter to raise awareness of the number of inappropriate 999 calls it receives.
The message said: “999 call from a woman at a hairdressers refusing to pay as her new do was “a mess”. Seeking legal advice. Not a police matter #ClickB4Ucall”
According to Humberside Police, more than one in four calls it receives on the 999 system are inappropriate, either because they do not require immediate police assistance or are not police matters at all.
Officers say people opt for 999 because they have no credit left on their phones or because they wrongly assume they will be dealt with more speedily if they ring 999 rather than 101.
Police have launched the ‘Click Before You Call’ campaign urging people to visit its website, www.humberside.police.uk, instead of calling police, unless it’s an emergency.
Chief Inspector Mark Bishop of Humberside Police said: “This is about us trying to educate the public as to who they ought to be contacting in order to ensure our very valuable resources are not tied up inappropriately.
“Some people don’t think before picking up the phone and dialling 999 and when they are doing so when it is not an emergency they are actually preventing other people, with real emergencies from getting through.”
The force says people also make unnecessary use of the non-emergency police number 101, calling about issues that are not police related, clogging up phone lines and preventing genuine callers from getting through.
Mr Bishop said: “It is very important to us that we are able to deal with callers in a timely and efficient manner and this is hampered by those calls that come through to us that simply should not involve the police.
“On a daily basis we are called about animal welfare issues, noise nuisance, bullying, parking and a lot of subjects that are not the responsibility of the police.
“We want to provide the best service we can and to help us to do that we need the public to help us by thinking before they pick up the phone.”