Comments:'Completely irresponsible' woman called emergency services to report theft of snowman

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Comments from feedback form - "Weird Lady."022:14, 4 December 2011
LOL000:38, 15 May 2011
999?1316:39, 31 December 2010
Police describe woman who reports the theft of two pounds and some cuttlery as "totally irresponsible".509:55, 31 December 2010

Comments from feedback form - "Weird Lady."

Weird Lady. (talk)22:14, 4 December 2011

LOL, what a funny story. I'm going to call the 133 to tell the police my cat pissed over my TV, and it needs to be arrested!

アンパロ Io ti odio!00:38, 15 May 2011

I thought it was 0118-999-881-999-119-7253 (talk)11:45, 4 December 2010

Technically, she could have phoned 112 instead...

Tom Morris (talk)12:29, 4 December 2010

My understanding is 112 will reroute you to 999, so one could argue it was still a 999 call. ;)

Out of interest, what happens in countries where the emergency services are split and all have separate numbers? Where does 112 take you there? (My assuption is if multiple services are involved, the police will handle dispatches, and hence will take 112, but I really have no idea.)

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)12:35, 4 December 2010

You mean where the emergency services all have separate emergency (999, 911) numbers? Or where they each have their own normal phone number? My understanding is that in most (if not all) cases the emergency dispatcher simply dispatches the correct type of ES personal. IE, if you call 911 and report a fire, they send a fire truck. If you call 911 and report a heart attack, they send an ambulance. If you call and merely say "help", they send police, who then call in reinforcements if necessary.

Gopher65talk12:50, 4 December 2010

I don't understand your question, which sounds like two ways of saying the same thing to me.

I mean where there is no central number (no 999, no 911). You call, say, 12 to get fire & rescue, 13 for medical, 14 for police. Who does 112 get you? Greece operates such a system:

Note direct numbers for police, fire, ambulance; yet 112 is listed as "Police/Medical/Fire". Do they have a few folk redirecting calls, or does it go to the police to sort out, or.... ?

112, for those who don't know, is a central number valid accross the EU and I don't know where else.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)13:00, 4 December 2010

Ah ok. Here there are two types of service: Either you have 911 or there is no emergency services number, and you have to directly call the police/fire/EMS station by their proper phone number IE, 1-408-222-3523 (this is increasing rare, even in distant rural areas). 911 which calls a central routing place. You talk to the operators, who decide for themselves what type of ES to dispatch. They don't reroute you to a separate dispatcher, AFAIK.

We don't have separate emergency numbers for police, fire, or EMS. If you need fire fighters, you call 911. Same with police, and same with EMS. In my city we each pay a small amount on every phone bill (like, 20 cents per month or something) to maintain the central routing service for emergency services.

Gopher65talk23:44, 4 December 2010

As far as I know, 112 is just a standard number that works across Europe to route your calls to the emergency services. It has also been standardised with the mobile networks such that even if you don't have mobile coverage in a particular area on your chosen network, all networks will try and route 112 calls even from non-subscribers. Plus I think 112 also works with text messaging in some countries - the UK have added an emergency SMS service: great for deaf people and when you want to silently alert the police to being kidnapped.

Basically, the simple rule is: dial 112 rather than 999. It'll work more often than 999.

And, yes, in countries where they have separate numbers, you get redirected to an operator who asks what service you require and connects you to the service dispatcher.

See w:Emergency telephone number.

Tom Morris (talk)15:07, 4 December 2010

112 was in use in a few European countries, and then written into the GSM standard. That is why access to it is so widespread. It was even codified in mobile standards that the number should be reachable without a SIM in a phone.

999 is the very-long-established emergency services number in the UK. This was established pre-switched phone networks, at a time when rotary dial phones were all you had and pulse dialling was the standard - on both sides of the Atlantic. 111 was not used (the fastest number to dial on a rotary phone) because telegraph lines, clattering together in the wind, could accidentally dial 111.

Brian McNeil / talk15:56, 5 December 2010

111 was not used because if you were in the grip of an emergency you may be too panicked to dial 111 accurately on a rotary dial. 999 was the most easily entered as all you had to do was dial to the end of the rotary.

If your telegraph line theory stand any ground then surely they'd've used 222 or 333? (talk)23:47, 8 December 2010

Police describe woman who reports the theft of two pounds and some cuttlery as "totally irresponsible".

There needs to be some clarification of the monetary threshold above which it is no longer an offense to report a theft. (talk)21:45, 5 December 2010


It is not the report, but what number she dialed - the emergency number. Theft of, at a push, £5 in cash and goods anything up to five hours ago is not an emergency.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)21:50, 5 December 2010

Yeah, this happens all over the place, some are worse than others ... ... the operator is great ... bye-bye ...

SVTCobra00:23, 9 December 2010

I disagree, I think It depends on how well-off someone is - Five quid could mean the difference between life and death for a homeless person. (talk)01:03, 11 December 2010

That is not a police emrgency, that is a medical emergency. If somebody is liable to freeze/starve, it's a job for the ambulance service. (Of course, the police would get involved, but if it was time to ring 999 the medical services are the urgent ones.) Alternatively, of course, if a homeless person got to the police before it reached that stage then the force could help with finding accomodation etc for the night.

One piece of legislation covering that part of the world is the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 - it can be viewed here and gives a decent definition of 'emergency'.

I would add that police advice is that if a crime is in progress or rapid police response greatly increases the chance of catching an offender (e.g. a hit-and-run where a general description of the vehicle and its direction is available) then it is also appropriate to dial 999. In this case, it was hours ago. It did not meet any definition of an emergency, such as the one linked above. Not appropriate.

There's non-emergency numbers, or you can go direct to the station, or even email most forces and arrange for officers to meet you. There is no reason to use the emergency number.

Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs)14:19, 11 December 2010

Indeed, the situation described was clearly inappropriate and wasteful. My point was simply that the theft of five pounds, (or another small sum) could- in certain limited circumstances- merit dialing 999. (talk)09:55, 31 December 2010