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Help Us Reduce Our Emergency Calls This Summer

Over the summer months, the number of 999 Emergency calls received by Devon & Cornwall Police increases. Already this summer the force has seen a significant increase – in July we received 31,325 calls to 999 – a 18% increase compared with the same time last year.

On average a 999 Emergency call takes around 10 minutes to resolve. Before ending the call, the contact centre always makes sure the caller is safe and help has been arranged.
Each day we also receive calls to 999 Emergency which are for non-emergency reasons.  These can be to ask questions, report non-emergency issues and even hoax calls.  Answering these calls prevents us helping someone in a real emergency.
As part of this year’s summer contacting the police campaign, we are reminding our communities about when they should contact the police in an emergency and what to do if they dial 999 by mistake.
When to call 999 Emergency
It is important everyone understands when to call 999 Emergency.
Only dial 999 Emergency if:
  • Life is at risk
  • People are injured
  • Offenders are nearby
  • Immediate action is required to save lives, stop injury, or catch criminals.
If you need to speak to the police for any other reasons, please use one of our online non-emergency contact channels or call 101.
What to do if you call 999 by mistake?
Unfortunately, we also receive calls to 999 Emergency which have been made by mistake.
These calls often happen by accident when a child is playing with a smartphone or when an unlocked phone is in a pocket or bag.
If you do dial 999 Emergency by mistake – don’t hang up, please speak to the operator, and tell them you are safe before ending the call.
We log every call, so if you hang up, we must then call you back to make sure you are safe which takes additional time and may prevent us from responding to other 999 calls.
To support the campaign, we have designed a poster to help people understand when to call 999 Emergency. We would be grateful if you could support the campaign by printing the poster and displaying it in your local communities.
We also have other resources available around the different non-emergency ways to contact the police, if you would like any of these please visit the resources page on our website.
If you require large, printed quantities of the posters, please make contact via the reply option at the bottom of this message.
Thank you for your support.
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