There was a lot of coverage in the press yesterday about our Police oppos allegedly taking ‘days’ to respond to 999 calls. We produced a very short video on the subject that was then shared on our main Facebook page, Emergency Services Humour.
If you are a civilian, and you read the various articles then you might be left thinking that, as an example, if you called 999 to report a burglary in process, then it would take ‘days’ for the Police to show up…
But the articles which were shared yesterday by some sections of the press were a tad misleading. And let me tell you as to why:
The coverage appeared to make ZERO allowances for the TYPE of 999 calls which they were referring to. It does not take a genius to work out that not all calls which are made to the police, are actually emergencies.
When a 999 call is made to the Police, the Control Room oppo (colleague) taking the call will give the call/incident a grading.
For example, in my previous force, the Met, it would be either an ‘I’ grade which meant that an immediate response was warranted, an ‘S’ grade which meant that Police were required ‘soon’ or an ‘R’ grade which meant that the call was ‘routine’ (I left the Met several years ago, so these gradings mau have changed).
The Control Room staff use their experience & intensive training, based on what they are told by the informant, in order to decide as to which grade the call should be given.
I.e. if you call 999 to report a robbery that is in progress, then it will be given an ‘I’ grade and all available Police resources in the area will be sent to the location.
However, if you call 999 to report that there are some kids playing football and they keep kicking their ball against your wall, then it might be given an ‘R’ grade which means that, as-and-when a unit becomes available, then they will attend.
And that’s the key here: ‘as-and-when’ a unit becomes available’.
We all know about the massive cuts which the emergency services have had to endure recently, so the chances of a unit becoming available for ‘R’ grade calls has reduced significantly.
Thus, if you call 999 to report an incident that you believe to be worthy of an immediate Police response, but the Control Room staff using their experience, professionalism and insight, combined with what you tell them, believe that the call is worthy of a ‘routine’ response, then it may well take ‘days’ to respond to the 999 call – a 999 call which was never an emergency in the first place.
Written by one of the many Admins of Emergency Services Humour on Facebook, who is also a regular contributor to our popular satirical eMagazine that is emailed to subscribers once every two weeks.
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