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Spiders, tyres and tape measure: Odd calls released by Police Scotland

Police Scotland's command centre seeks to clamp down on calls that could do with common sense
Police Scotland's command centre seeks to clamp down on calls that could do with common sense

A confused member of the public dialled 999 to check what height he was in a new list of problem calls released by Police Scotland.

In an effort to raise awareness of public enquiries that require the use of common sense rather than the force’s resources over the festive period, transcripts of three calls that did not merit an emergency response were disclosed to The Courier.

“Just a wee general enquiry I have,” said the first caller. “I’m just wondering what height I am and I dinny have a measuring tape.”

“It’s a good idea,” said the handler, “but unfortunately I can’t.”

Two other peculiar calls came from one lady who wanted to establish whether a glass bowl could contain a household spider and a man who wasn’t sure what to do about an under-inflated tyre.

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, Divisional Commander of Police Scotland’s Contact Command and Control Division said: “The vast majority of people who contact us, use the 101 and 999 systems appropriately, however there are a very small number of people who do not and this abuse can cost lives.

“It diverts our call handlers from helping the public when they need us. Our message is simple – if it’s an emergency call 999, for non-emergency situations dial 101.”

Members of the public are also urged to use the Police Scotland website to report a range of issues such as domestic abuse, hate crime, child abuse, wildlife crime and lost property. Alternatively, they can approach a police officer on duty or attend at a police station front counter.

The effort follows Scotland Yard’s recent campaign south of the border, where previous complaints about a hissing cat and an undelivered fridge freezer were shown as occasions where police cannot possibly intervene.

When a stranger calls…

Spider in hall
Service Advisor (SA): You’re through to Police Scotland, how can I help?
Caller (C): Hello, em, I’m sorry to disturb you but I’ve got a big spider in my hall, eh I’ve put a bowl over it but I’m scared, I’m on my own….I’m sorry to disturb you but I can’t go back to bed with that in the hall, I just can’t, I don’t know what to do.
SA: Have you got nobody you can speak to, nobody that could help you?
C: Well I spoke to my daughter and she said just to leave it until the morning.
SA: Uh huh…
C: It’s under the bowl she says and it’ll no move.
SA: Well that’s it, it can’t move if it’s under the bowl.
C: I just, I don’t know why I did it I just stuck a big bowl over it, a Pyrex bowl, will it be OK, it’ll no move?
SA: I wouldn’t have though so not if it’s got a glass bowl on top of it.
C: Yeah. It’s a big thing, it’s big!
SA: I know but we can’t send the police round to get rid of a spider for you.
C: Yeah, OK then, I’m sorry to disturb you.
SA: Alright?
C: OK, thank you.
SA: Bye Bye.

Measuring tape
SA: Police Scotland, how can I help?
C: Hiya…
SA: Hello…
C: Just a wee general enquiry I have, I’m just wondering what height I am and I dinny have a measuring tape, right would you be able to look into my records please?
SA: Sorry, say that last bit again, you didn’t have a, you don’t have a…
C: Measuring tape…
SA: A measuring tape?
C: Yeah. To see what height I am and I was just wondering cause you’ll have it on record.
SA: No I can’t see any information about, em, anybody on the phone unfortunately because I can’t verify who you are on the phone.
C: Oh I see.
SA: I can’t give that information I am afraid. I like your um…it’s a good idea but unfortunately I can’t.
C: No, it’s no been anything to do wi a good idea, it was just, well you have it on file and I was just wondering
SA: Yeah. What’s your name?
C: I’m no telling you now because you are making me look like an idiot.
SA: OK.
C: Thank you very much.
SA: Thanks now, cheerio.
C: Bye.

Under-inflated tyre
SA: Police Scotland, (name) speaking, can I help you?
C: Hiya, my name’s, eh, Andy and it’s just to ask, eh, eh, see a under-inflated tyre, eh, is it against the law to drive?
SA: Well it depends, you need to have everything to be for your car to be road worthy, so your tyres need to be inflated and you need to have tread on them.
C: Right, so even at the slightest, it’s, eh…
SA: Well it’s hard for me to comment on that because I can’t see the tyre but if you think your tyre is not inflated enough then just pump it up.
C: Alright, no bother.
SA: OK?
C: OK, thanks.
SA: Thank you.

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