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Man calls 999 demanding lift from Hornsey to Finsbury Park

PUBLISHED: 17:25 19 December 2016 | UPDATED: 17:34 19 December 2016

A 999 call handler       Picture: MPS

A 999 call handler Picture: MPS

Archant

A thoughtless 999 caller who demanded to be taken from Hornsey to Finsbury Park after running out of cash is being used as an example by police to warn against time wasting.

Christmas and New Year are traditionally the busiest times for police, who have seen 999 calls surge by 216,000 over the last year.

Now officers are warning there is a “real risk” callers not in a genuine emergency could harm the police’s chances of responding to people in desperate need.

In an extract from one of 12 time wasting calls released by police today, a man in Nightingale Lane said: “Basically, I’m in N8 and I’m trying to get home to Finsbury Park and I don’t have any money on me for a taxi.”

When asked by the 999 call handler what he expected police to do, the man said: “Come and pick me up, obviously”.

But the call handler replied that the Metropolitan Police is “not a free taxi service”, adding: “If you want a taxi you call a taxi service – you don’t call 999”.

In another recording, a caller said: “There is a cat following me down the road and it keeps hissing”.

One person even phoned to ask: “Can you give me the number for the non-emergency police?”

Ch Supt Pippa Mills, who leads the Met’s Command and Control Unit, said there are too many people using 999 as an “information service”.

“We appreciate that every crime feels like an emergency to the victim, but the 999 number really must be reserved for situations where a crime is actually in progress or someone is in danger,” she said.

“Calling us on 101 does not change the police response you would get in a non-emergency situation and using the right number could literally save someone’s life.”

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