Lost cats and missing keys top list of ridiculous 999 calls

A lost cat call could cost lives
A lost cat call could cost lives

A worrying list of bizarre 999 calls from timewasters includes reports of a ‘confused’ horse and a complaint about too much sweetcorn on a pizza.

One caller dialled the emergency line after forgetting where their car was parked, while another asked police to kick a stray cat out of their house.

Thames Valley Police revealed the list to raise national awareness across all police forces after suggesting artificial intelligence could soon be used to handle some emergency calls - because operators are having their vital time wasted by daft calls.

They also hope sharing the details will warn the public against bogus calls and timewasting.

There was a report about a ‘confused’ looking horse in a field by the side of the road and while there was nothing to indicate horse was ill or in pain, it had a confused expression on its face.

One caller rang 999 to complain there was too much sweetcorn on his pizza, while another male caller lost his keys in a car park and wanted police to help in the search.

Late bus

A lady phoned to complain her National Express coach was 20 minutes late - and wanted police to tell her why.

In a separate call a coach driver rang because roads crew were laying tarmac and had set a diversion. He told the handler he paid his road tax and felt that the diversions should not apply to him.

Others include a diner dialling 999 over concerns about the quality of food which was being served to him, a complaint about a cat which kept coming into a Sainsbury’s store and appeared lost.

Another caller saw a ‘rather forlorn’ looking lady in the street and decided to give her £10 - but had a change of heart and wanted the money back.

There was a call from an man who lives in London who said he fell asleep on the last train and ended up in Slough - and wanted police to take him home.

One complaint was about a cat meandering in the vicinity of the Winnersh Triangle. It was a friendly cat who approaches people but it might be lost, the caller said.

‘Wife left him’

Other bizarre calls which made the list included a sad man who said his wife left him the day before, he needed to leave college early to pick up his kids and wanted police to write a letter explaining why he needed to leave early.

A lady called in to complain that her housing association sent her two letters asking her if she would consider relocation to a smaller property. She said she had a three-bedroom house and lives alone, but did not want to move and did not appreciate being asked.

One caller purchased a curry from a local restaurant for home delivery, but he opened it and it spilt onto him causing a burn to his arm.

He called the restaurant and all they were doing was offering him a replacement which he did not think was good enough.

Another wanted police to fix the lifts in her block of flats because she did not want to wait until the next day for the lift engineers to attend.

Lost car

A dozy member of the public forgot where in the car-park they parked their car, another was being kept awake by the noise from a thunderstorm and wished to complain about it and a third had a headache and wasn’t happy with a decorator because it had been caused by the paint fumes.

One caller complained next door’s cat came into their house and didn’t want to leave - before asking if police officers come and put the cat out.

Another wished to complain about the content provided by the BBC, specifically continual re-runs of ‘Homes under the Hammer’.

There was a caller unhappy her pizza hadn’t been delivered on time and was 10 minutes late, while another got on the wrong train and now has a 90 minute wait for the right train so asked police for a lift to Aldershot.

One man rang 999 on a Sunday afternoon because he did not like the sounds of the bagpipes being played by a busker.

Faulty shower

And after one caller’s shower was playing up, making a beeping noise, they asked police for advice because they were unsure whether to call a plumber or electrician.

Thames Valley Police took 286,938 calls to the emergency number July 2016 and June 2017, an increase by 8.9 per cent on the previous year.

The force has recently suggested a robocop-style call-handling system as the government looks at how artificial intelligence will change society.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the ‘Implications of Artificial Intelligence’, Thames Valley Police said the tech ‘could perform many of the process-driven tasks that take place in the police’.

It said a 999 caller might even be able to describe an incident and be understood by artificial intelligence.

The submission added: “Speech analysis categorises the type of incident and detects indicators of stress from the caller.

“The date, time, location and offence details are recorded automatically.

“Solvability factors are calculated on the quality of the available data. The risk assessment provides a recommendation for officers on the next steps for the offender and also an appropriate support package for the victim.”

There force said there would be need to be a ‘high level of human oversight and clear justification’.