Non-emergency contact with the police

Devon and Cornwall Police is urging the public to think carefully before they contact the police non-emergency 101 service this Christmas and to go online for their answers where possible, and also to remember that inappropriate calls increase waiting times for other callers.

Inappropriate calls and emails to 101 take up the valuable time of the staff in the contact centres when they could be helping those in need. It is vital that all members of the public with genuine enquiries, especially those who are vulnerable, can have their queries or concerns dealt with in a timely fashion by contact centre staff.

The Force has shared some of the more striking and, with the benefit of hindsight, more amusing examples of inappropriate calls and emails to the non-emergency 101 service.

Just this month a man called 101 at 7.30pm and again at 7.45pm from a Torquay number and asked the police to give him a lift home. This request was declined.

This was a slightly more focused request, if completely inappropriate, than the man who called without giving his name or location, asking “Where’s my car?”

An example of a recent 101 email more or less answers its own question:

“Hi sorry I’m not sure this is worthy of police time… I just saw a confused female pheasant near the car park by the bus station.”

As the pheasant was not causing a hazard on the public highway and did not appear to be unduly distressed, the request to “put it back in a nice field” was politely declined.

Chief Superintendent Jim Nye said: “None of these examples are police matters. While they may be amusing, they are unacceptable uses of the 101 service and underline an issue which increases call waiting times for genuine callers.

“We also ask the public to consider using online methods of contacting the police for non-emergency matters. These include the online crime report, our new Livechat service, the Ask the Police website and app and the national lost and found online report, all of which are available at

“All of these online methods can be used conveniently in your own time. It is also appropriate, in a non-emergency situation, to email [email protected] with a query or report which will be received at our Exeter and Plymouth contact centres by the same staff that handle 101 and 999 calls.”

And finally, the man who called to tell police that he was unhappy with the work done on his wife’s nails, and that he would not be paying for the service, should have thought for just a bit longer. The police did not need to know this.


Call 999 in an emergency – where life is threatened, people are injured, the offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required

Report a crime using the online form, email [email protected] or call 101 – if a crime has already happened or to give information about a crime. Include as much information as possible about what happened, exactly where and when it happened and who was involved, and include a phone number if it is appropriate to be called back by the police.

Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News

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