From reports of a naked man to escaped piglets – just some of the 999 calls Suffolk Police received in one day
Members of the public were given a rare insight into the demands facing Suffolk Police earlier this week as the force held a 10-hour Tweetathon. The event, which ran from 11am until 9pm on Wendesday, June 21, saw a dedicated team of volunteer police officers and staff tweeting basic details of as many 999 and 101 calls as possible that came into the Constabulary’s Contact and Control Room.
Over the course of the day, a total of with 551 calls were received via 999 and 248 via the non-emergency 101 number. However, just 85 crimes were reported online and only 27 enquiries were made via the Live Chat service, which is available weekdays between 9am and 5pm for non-urgent matters.
The aim of the Tweetathon was to raise awareness of when it’s appropriate to call the police and highlight the online channels that could be used as an alternative method of contact. Some of the more bizarre calls received throughout the day included an intoxicated, naked man in Ipswich and 20 escaped piglets on the run in Southwold.
Inappropriate calls to the 999-emergency line included a request for a lift from police to hospital, report of a collision that had occurred hours before and an enquiry about someone in custody. From the start of April 2022 to the end of March 2023, the Contact and Control Room at Suffolk Constabulary received more than 360,000 calls; 128,957 through the emergency 999 line and 231,352 via the 101 non-emergency number. On the 101 number alone, this is a 14 per cent increase from the previous year.
Read more: The reality of Suffolk’s 999 calls as we go behind-the-scenes with call handlers
Calls to the 999 number should only be made when there is a crime in progress or a threat to life. Chief Inspector Shawn Wakeling, who oversees the running of the Contact and Control Room, is urging members of the public to only call 999 in appropriate situations as demand for the service surges.
He said: “The general public are our greatest partner; usually first on the scene of an incident, they can report crimes and provide us with intelligence to help build on investigations. However, in order for us to be able to provide the best service to the public we also need their help in contacting us appropriately.
“The Tweetathon gave us the opportunity to show and explain what constitutes as an emergency so people can be better informed when to call the emergency line and what can be handled online, whether that’s for advice and information or online reporting. It was disappointing that our Live Chat service only received 27 enquiries yesterday.
“Our Live Chat operators are real people – they are not a ‘bot’ – who have received the same training as our call takers. They can answer general enquiries, provide updates to your existing reported incident and help you navigate our website.
“The service also provides a communication channel for those who are hearing impaired and it also automatically translates 100 languages, which assists people who are less comfortable communicating in English.”
“Overall the Tweetathon was a really successful event – it highlighted the sheer volume of calls that we receive on an average day and provided the public with a rare insight into policing that also allowed them to engage and interact with us, take part in our polls to better understand what we do and share their reactions in real-time.
“I’d like to thank the public for their comments and continued support, and reassure them that we are constantly reviewing our performance to help us better understand the call demand so we can improve our efficiency.”