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No-nos on a 999 list that turns a minor drama into a full-blown crisis

From rats to recycling and marital moans to posterior proportions, the bizarre emergency calls from the summer of 2019

Police have issued a late summer wish list of ‘what-nots’ to ask for in an emergency.

The inappropriate calls forces would rather not have received from the public range from rat infestation to recycling days.

And some get very personal indeed – with transport entreaties, marital moans and even a cheeky reference to whether size matters in terms of posterior proportions among the no-nos.

“Can you give me a lift” and “when will my recycling be collected” are just some of the banal and frankly bizarre questions people have been asking North Yorkshire Police’s emergency response team during the not-so-sunny summer months of 2019.

“We do find that sometimes people will call the police as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for any kind of query, no matter how bizarre or unnecessary,” said a force spokesman.

North Yorkshire revealed someone rang its emergency number to ask if they could stop unsolicited junk emails from reaching their inbox. The force said emails are “not a police responsibility” and said ISPs should be contacted about the problem in the first instance.

Following a whale of a time at the races, callers also flooded its control room to know “what time the roads will be busiest”.

People should use the social media channels for traffic updates, it retorted, as “we are not here to advise on journey planning”.

Perhaps it was no surprise that “can you give me directions to…” made it on the list, with the force labelling the request “ridiculous”. Some callers had even asked where to park their cars when they got to their destination, it added.

Another beauty saw the force asked if it could stop a mysterious individual from letting their dog foul outside their home. While it acknowledged leaving mess was illegal, the force indicated issue is one for a local authority.

A caller had also phoned the police to ask to collect a stray dog from a local park. The force said calls should instead be directed to the council.

Urging the public to think twice about ringing the police, it also highlighted the case of someone requesting emergency assistance for a next door neighbour playing loud music.

It said noise complaints should be reported to the environmental health department of a local authority – yet added in extreme cases it could “intervene” but only ask for the noise to be reduced.

The list of bizarre and amusing questions “not to ask police” was released to coincide with North Yorkshire’s #KnowWhenToCall campaign. It hopes the campaign will help people to think carefully before dialling emergency services in the region to limit time-wasting and nuisance callers.

Nearby Humberside Police have an interesting “not to ask” call list – with pearlers including  “I haven’t got enough money for a taxi home”, “The petrol station won’t sell me cigs”, “Can I shoot a rat in my house please?” and “My ex-wife is 10 minutes late bringing my daughter home”.

And finally bringing up the rear, the classic line “How big is your bum?”

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