A small part of my job is to answer the 999 (that’s 911 to my friends across the pond) calls which are directed to the police. I happened to be doing that the other day and whilst chatting to my colleague she mentioned a call she had recently had the pleasure of answering.

A young man had dialled the emergency services and asked for the police. On inquiring what his emergency might be, my colleague was presented with the tragic case of a guy who wanted to break up with his poor unsuspecting girlfriend. Unfortunately, he had no credit on his phone and the only number he could ring was 999 so he politely requested our services in contacting said girlfriend on his behalf and breaking the news to her.

I laughed so hard I’m not sure how deep his disappointment was when my colleague told him this was not part of the services we provided.

This clearly beats my personal favourite call, which was someone (ringing from a hotel on a shared internet connection) complaining that his wifi connection had been hacked and he was unable to play Modern Warfare 2.

These are just two examples of the quality of calls that clog up the 999 service on a daily basis, okay, these are exceptionally bad ones, but a good 90% of calls are not genuine emergencies and I would say upwards of 50% are not even reasons to call the emergency services at all.

The calls range from the ridiculous (as above) to the just plain sad; people that have been brought into this world completely unable to lead their lives without intervention from outside agencies. Just what kind of society is it that we are living in where people need to call the police to resolve their day-to-day problems? People out there just seem incapable of dealing with life’s difficulties, unruly children, drunken partners, noisy dogs, disabled parrots. And I’m not talking here about victims of domestic violence, we want them to call (most of them don’t), I’m talking about ‘Little Johnny won’t go to bed and I can’t deal with him because I’ve fed him far too many sugary drinks and macdonalds and now he’s hyper’ or, ‘my partner has come round, I’ve sat here watching him drink all night, now he is drunk and I want him to leave, but he won’t, because he’s damn well comatose on the sofa’.

How did we get to this place as a country? Where exactly have we gone wrong, and what in hell can we do to turn it around?

Oh, I don’t have the answers, or even particularly a point, I just thought I’d put it out there and let it hang.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are the personal opinion of the blogger and do no represent the views of the police service. Please do not hesitate to ring 999 if you have an emergency. If you want to break up with your significant other, do it on Facebook.

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