A MAN who called 999 to ask for help to retrieve his pet cockatoo from a tree yesterday has been slammed by a senior police officer cracking down on hoax and nuisance callers.
Supt Bob Chapman, South Yorkshire Police's head of force communications, is warning further action could be taken against nuisance callers following increased pressure on the force's call handlers over the weekend.
The officer said although reports like the trapped cockatoo "sounded amusing" they were "certainly not funny to the people waiting in the queue with a genuine emergency to report".
The warning comes following a plea from Supt Chapman last week urging the public to think carefully before they called due to an unprecedented number of calls to 999 and 101.
“We remain under a huge amount of pressure at the moment and I would like to reiterate the need for responsible use of the emergency service numbers," said Supt Chapman.
“Amongst the hundreds of genuine callers this weekend, we have identified a number of individuals who are making multiple 999 calls to us. Not one of these calls required our assistance on scene, but each one took up our call handlers’ precious time.
“Whilst we do make contingencies for repeat callers, this is causing an added burden on the service. I want to make it clear that we will be taking a firm line on individuals making nuisance or hoax calls. This could mean identification and further action being considered.
“I’m also keen to continue highlighting some of the inappropriate calls my team receive, for example in the early hours of Monday morning (July 1) a man called 999 to ask for help to retrieve his pet cockatoo from a tree.
"He had also called the fire service. Whilst these might sound like amusing stories, they’re certainly not funny to the people waiting in the queue with a genuine emergency to report.
“Please have a look at our website, where you can find advice and helpful information about who you should call about various issues instead of police.”