A MAJOR DRIVE has been launched this week by Police Scotland in an attempt to ensure members of the public are more aware of which number to use in cases of emergency.
The non-emergency 101 number has been used by the public around 2.8million times over the last year – while the 999 emergency number has been used just under 500,000 times.
However, many calls are still causing concern for those manning both lines, with several examples of misuse being published – including one woman who called 999 to report that her snowman had been stolen.
Another called to say he had been given a “dirty look” by a neighbour, while there was also a request for police to help a woman who could not sleep because there was a large spider in her house.
While admitting that some of these calls may be amusing, they draw staff away from calls that could be reporting a more serious emergency situation.
Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, Divisional Commander of Police Scotland’s Contact Command and Control Division said: “Our campaign is a timely reminder to people to use 101 and 999 properly.
“Call handlers deal with a call every 10 seconds – they are highly trained, skilled and knowledgeable and are there to help. Most people contact the Police appropriately but there are a small percentage who do not – this abuse of 101 and 999 could cost lives.
“Our message is simple – if it’s an emergency call 999. In a non emergency situation, dial 101.”
101 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be used from anywhere in Scotland to contact Police Scotland or any other force in the UK.
Members of the public can also use the Police Scotland website to report a range of issues, including domestic abuse, hate crime, child abuse, wildlife crime and lost property. Alternatively, they can approach a police officer on duty or attend at a police station front counter.
More information about 101 and the ways to contact Police Scotland is available on the Police Scotland website via www.scotland.police.uk/101999aware.