We’ve heard some strange reasons for calling the emergency services, but this particular example really does take pole position in the stupidity race.
West Midlands Police has released an audio clip of a learner driver calling 999 to rant about his driving instructor turning up late – because in his world, tardiness is a matter of life and death.
“I’ve got an emergency,” the anonymous learner driver said. “The person who’s supposed to be teaching me came late and now she’s asking me to get out of her car. She’s saying I’m giving her attitude… Please come over.”
The call handler on the other end of the phone was surprisingly patient given the level of stupidity on display, offering advice on who else to approach to resolve the matter before stating: “You do not call the police 999 line to complain that your driving instructor is late… 999 is for life and death emergencies.
“That’s not the police’s problem. We deal with crime.”
West Midlands Police was keen to stress the fact such calls take police time away from people that genuinely need it. “We regularly receive calls on the 9s about lost property, people asking for directions and revellers who’ve been denied entry to nightclubs,” contact centre chief inspector Sally Holmes said. “Other recent ‘emergencies’ include a blocked sink plug in a hotel room and someone who’d forgotten their computer password!”
“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,” she added.
In case you think West Midlands Police is being a bit dramatic, it handles on average more than 1,500 999 calls every day ─ that’s roughly one call every minute.
If you want to speak to police in non-emergency situation can call 101 instead of 999.
Hit the play button below to listen to the conversation in its entirety.