Cambridgeshire Police 101 number 'being misused'

Cambridgeshire Police has urged people to use its new dedicated 101 number for non-emergency calls "more wisely".

Police Service Centre manager Tracy Blackwood said some callers were taking the "non-emergency" message too literally.

"While our officers want to help, we are not here to fix your television, or mend a leaking bathroom," she said.

"If we deal with those calls, people who really need us cannot get through."

The 101 number was introduced as part of a scheme in England and Wales providing one "easy-to-remember" way to contact police.

'Call a plumber'

Mrs Blackwood said the Cambridgeshire force had received more than 5,000 calls since 101 became the sole number for non-emergencies on 1 April.

"Unfortunately, some people do misuse it," she said.

"A gentleman called to say his television wasn't working and he was particularly unhappy as there was a film he wanted to watch.

"Another caller said she had a leak in her bathroom but didn't want to call a plumber as it would be too expensive.

"She asked if we could go and sort it out for her."

Mrs Blackwood said the 101 number was for police matters such as stolen vehicles or damage to property.

"We do understand that some people don't know the difference between a civil matter and a criminal matter," she said.

"Where we can, we will point them in the right direction, but if you need a plumber, you need to call a plumber.

"Our police officers can't come and fix your bathroom tap for you."

She stressed that where there was a genuine emergency, people should call 999.

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