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West Midlands Police has revealed that a man contacted the emergency services because the staff at McDonald's were ignoring him.
In a new campaign to stop time-wasting 999 calls, the force has released recordings of three calls it received for reasons that were little more than inconveniences, let alone emergencies.
The transcripts of the calls are as follows:
Call 1. McDonalds staff "ignoring me"
Caller 1: It's a bit of an emergency but it isn't at the same time. Basically I've come into McDonald's and we bought some food and there's been a misunderstanding
We've gone to eat the food then we go back around and none of the members of staff are coming to the till. They're ignoring us.
So we've decided to stop in the drive thru now and there's 20 cars behind us.
Police: This is not a police matter sir at all. You don't dial 999 unless it's a life or death emergency.
Call 2. Forgotten my laptop password
Caller 2: I'm calling because my laptop is closed and I need to get the password number.
Police: You've called the police to get a password for your laptop?
Caller 2: Yes please
Police: Right. You do not phone the police to ask that. We don't deal with laptops and passwords.
Caller 2: I didn't use [the police line] because I don't know that thing we were talking about. I was using Facebook.
Police: We are the emergency services. We deal with life and death incidents. We don't deal with passwords on laptops. It's nothing to do with the police.
Caller 2: Do you have a number?
Police: No I don't have a number either. It's emergency life or death line. We don't deal with laptops. We don't deal with passwords and we don't have numbers to give out. You need to get in touch with whoever you bought the laptop from.
Caller 2: Alright. Thank you.
Call 3. What's the 101 number?
Caller 3: What I'm after right, yeah, the situation is, what I'm after is you know, the 101 number.
Caller 3: Do you have to press 0121?
Police: No just 101.
Caller 3: And press the hash key?
Police: No just 101.
Caller 3: OK thank you.
Police say people calling 999 for non-emergencies are potentially putting lives at risk by potentially stopping call handlers from answering real life-and-death calls.
Chief Inspector Sally Holmes from Force Contact at West Midlands Police said: "These calls are ridiculous and it doesn't end just there. We regularly receive calls on the 9s about lost property, people asking for directions and from people who have been denied entry to a nightclub.
"It's astonishing listening to them but they hide a serious truth. Each call often takes minutes to deal with as staff have to clarify the situation - it might not sound like much but, if someone is trying to get through to report a genuine life or death emergency, then a minute is a very long time to wait.
"Typically West Midlands Police receive over 1500 calls a day to the 999 number and our operatives have to deal with each one accordingly. Demand for our services often increases when we have issues such as recent heavy snowfall to contend with.
"As well as the bizarre calls, police also receive deliberate hoax calls which take up vital time. The daft calls are bad enough - but for someone to maliciously dial 999 to take up police time, knowing they are making a false report, is unacceptable."