World Cup fans in Herts urged to dial 999 only in an emergency after numerous inappropriate calls

PUBLISHED: 14:32 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 11 July 2018

World Cup. Picture: SEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images

World Cup. Picture: SEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images

2009 AFP

Police inundated with inappropriate emergency calls last weekend have urged football fans to only dial 999 in a genuine crisis.

England's Harry Kane and team mates celebrate winning the penalty shoot out during the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA ImagesEngland's Harry Kane and team mates celebrate winning the penalty shoot out during the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images

Over the weekend, after England’s World Cup quarter final match, Herts police’s Force Communications Room (FCR) received 1,387 calls.

On Saturday alone there were 757 calls, a similar spike to New Year’s Eve - one of the busiest days of the year.

Officers have chalked it up to a combination of the heatwave and football celebrations turned sour.

However, a number of the calls were not valid. For example, one person called to complain they were hot, another person because they did not want to pay a taxi fare in advance, and a third because two large “bald eagles” flew over her house.

Public contact lead Supt Mick Trotman said it puts “additional pressure on our hard working call handlers during an extremely busy period”.

He said: “This is not only incredibly frustrating for staff in the FCR who are working really hard but more importantly it could delay us in getting help to those who are in desperate need, often facing life or death situations.”

Supt Richard Liversidge said: “So far the majority of Hertfordshire’s residents have been enjoying our World Cup success and the unusual summer heatwave in a responsible and safe way and I hope this continues.”

He added: “If you’re drinking alcohol make sure you don’t drink too much, plan you way home ahead of going out and don’t drink and drive.

“The combination of alcohol and the heatwave means that people can become dehydrated much more quickly than usual so please keep yourself topped up with non-alcoholic drinks.

“Also, remember that if you’ve been drinking the night before you might still be over the legal drink drive limit on Thursday morning.”

He said there will be an increased police presence in Herts during England matches.

The public should only dial 999 if:

• Someone is injured, being threatened or is in danger.

• There is a risk of injury to someone or a risk of serious damage to property.

• A crime is in progress or a crime is suspected to be in progress.

• There is a serious incident which needs immediate police attendance.

• Someone suspected of a crime is nearby.

When there is no immediate threat to life or property, people should call 101.

Herts police received 952 non-emergency 101 calls on Saturday and 1,009 on Sunday.

Typical examples of appropriate 101 calls include:

• For police information about a crime that is not currently in progress.

• To contact a local police officer

• If property has been stolen or damaged but it is not a crime in progress.

• If there is suspected drug dealing or use in your area.

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