England

999 called for lost glasses, handbags and faulty sockets

A woman dialling 999 to report her lost glasses topped a list of unnecessary calls tying up Devon and Cornwall Police lines last month.

The force has reported a rise in "inappropriate" calls during July.

Other requests included a woman seeking plug socket testing and another who left her handbag in a taxi.

Supt Craig Downham said misuse of the number was putting the lives of people who needed immediate assistance at risk.

The force said 999 calls to Devon and Cornwall Police had risen at peak times [Friday and Saturday evenings] - the majority of them non-urgent or matters not usually dealt with by the police.

Pursuit request

"Inappropriate calls that have been clogging up the emergency phone lines range from problems with utilities to complaints about noise," said a spokesperson.

No reason has been given for the rise in inappropriate calls.

Examples include a woman who called 999 after she had lost her glasses while standing outside an optician, and a woman who left her handbag in a taxi and wanted police to follow the vehicle and retrieve the bag.

Supt Downham added: "The number should only be used for situations where life is threatened, people are injured, offenders are nearby or if immediate action is required with an urgent response.

"999 should only be used in an emergency."

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