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Hundreds of abandoned 999 calls made on Christmas Day

999 calls (Getty Images/iStock)
999 calls have surged over the Christmas period, putting strain on emergency services say Police Scotland. (Getty Images/iStock)

PEOPLE trying to get to grips with new technology and children being given their parent’s phones to play with are thought to be behind over 800 abandoned 999 calls over Christmas. 

Between 6am on Christmas Day and 6am on Boxing Day, staff in Police Scotland Service Centres dealt with 807 callers who hung up with no further explanation.

Officers have seen the number of dropped calls to the emergency line steadily increase and are predicting a further surge over the festive season as people start trying to use new mobile phones and portable technology.

Children being given their parents phones are also thought to be responsible for a number of these calls, as are phones being put into pockets or handbags without the screen being locked.

Staff and officers at Police Scotland’s Contact, Command and Control (C3) Division are now urging the public to be aware of the demands dropped 999 calls place on the service, as each one has to be investigated.

They say it is better to simply let the operator know the call was a mistake, rather than just hanging up.

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, C3 Division Commander, said: “We appreciate accidents happen, that children can hit buttons and not understand the consequences.

“But the impact of hundreds of dropped 999 calls a day adds up. Each 999 call has to be investigated to ensure the safety of the caller.

“That ranges from cross-referencing the number on our systems to see if there have been previous calls, to calling back the number. This all takes up time which could be spent handling genuine emergency situations and helping people in times of real distress.

“Our advice is simple – if you call 999 by accident, and the call is answered, please explain what’s happened. It’ll only take a few seconds and will enable the call to be cleared with no issues.”