New Year warning for 999

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POLICE in Wigan are asking people not to misuse the 999 service today in what is traditionally the busiest night of the year for officers.

On average, Greater Manchester Police handles 1,400 emergency calls each day, but last New Year’s Eve there were 3,228 – more than twice as many.

Diane Grandidge, GMP’s business lead for call handling, said: “The 999 number is only to be used in emergencies where there is a threat to life or property or a crime in progress.

“I would therefore urge people to think carefully before dialling, as that way we can focus our efforts on real emergencies.

“With our busiest night approaching we are preparing to receive thousands of emergency calls, and silly pranks or thoughtless requests for assistance can have a major impact on those who need a fast police response.

“We don’t want there to be any delays in dealing with genuine emergencies because of non-emergency calls to 999 or, worse still, deliberate jokes.”

Recent examples of 999 being misused include people asking for directions or a lift home, asking where the nearest restaurant is or wishing police a Happy New Year. For general inquiries or to report less urgent crime or disorder, people should call 101. For example, if your car has been stolen, your property damaged or you want to report a traffic collision or give police information about crime.

101 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there is a single flat rate charge of 15p, no matter how long the duration of the call, what time of day it is or whether you are calling from a landline or mobile phone.

People should continue to call their local council for things like graffiti, abandoned vehicles, dumping, fly tipping or vandalism.