In May, our control room at Ripley received 4,535 abandoned 999 calls. That’s approximately one every 10 mins.
Each time this happens, our call handlers spend time investigating if that person is safe. Some of these calls are genuine emergencies, but many are pocket dials.
So, to help us establish the real emergencies quickly, we’re asking you to stay on the line if you call us by accident and let us know that you’re okay.
Force Incident Manager Inspector Mat Haslam said: “With every abandoned call, we need to check on the caller’s welfare, which means in some cases, we’ll dispatch an officer to find them.
“Call handlers will try to phone the person back, but if they can’t get through, they’ll contact their network supplier to pinpoint where they are.
“We can’t assume that the person is okay – and every second counts in an emergency.”
The vast majority of these abandoned calls are accidental. This is not just a problem in Derbyshire, it’s nationwide. Improvements to phone and smart watch software, which make it easier for you to let us know if you do need assistance, also increase the possibility of a pocket dial.
Inspector Haslam continues: “Phone users usually hang up quickly out of embarrassment – but what we want you to do is stay on the line and speak to us.
“We fully understand that accidental dials like this happen to everyone at some point. The key thing is letting us know you’re safe.
“So help us out, stay on the line and have a quick chat and tell us what’s happened, then we can close the call. We’d much rather spend a couple of minutes chatting to you than an hour tracking you down.”
Here to help
Our force control room takes an average of 1,400 calls for service a day via 999, the non-emergency 101 number and our digital channels.
Every contact goes through a threat, risk and harm assessment which leads to that call being prioritised accordingly.
Remember, to keep our phone lines free for emergencies, you can contact us for an update and report non-emergency incidents online via www.derbyshire.police.uk