Lost parrots and stranded cats are just some of the hundreds of thousands of issues that emergency call handlers in Abingdon have to deal with.
Staff at Abingdon Police Station’s control room received 304,000 calls to the emergency 999 number in 2017, a 12% increase on the previous year.
Nikky Dumbleton, operations manager, said: “We’re working on how to reduce that demand by better signposting the public to the right locations for their calls.
“When you speak to most of our staff, it’s a dynamic job, there’s lots of variety. These guys will regularly go above and beyond what we’d expect them to do.”
There were 8,000 calls reporting abandoned vehicles and more than 15,000 calls about parking issues, both of which are the responsibility of local councils along with noise nuisance complaints.
More than 18,000 calls were ‘butt dials’ from people who forgot to lock their phone before putting it in their pocket or bag.
Handlers can be occupied for up to five minutes at a time as they try to call their phantom callers back, or track down alternative numbers to reach the caller, to make sure they are safe.
Non-emergency calls can be reported to 101 or online at reportonline.thamesvalley.police.uk.
– Owen Hughes