Householders are being reminded when they should contact the police in an emergency, and what to do if they dial 999 by mistake.

DC Police G7

Over the summer months, the number of 999 emergency calls received by Devon & Cornwall Police increases. Already this summer the force has seen a significant increase. In July it received 31,325 calls to 999 — a 18% increase compared with the same time last year.

On average, a 999 emergency call takes around ten minutes to resolve. Before ending the call, the contact centre always makes sure the caller is safe and that help has been arranged.

However, a police spokesperson adds: “Each day we also receive calls to 999 emergency which are for non-emergency reasons. These can be to ask questions, report non-emergency issues, and even hoax calls. Answering these calls prevents us helping someone in a real emergency.”

Only dial 999 emergency if:

  • Life is at risk
  • People are injured
  • Offenders are near by
  • Immediate action is required to save lives, stop injury, or catch criminals.

If you need to speak to the police for any other reasons, use one of the police’s online non-emergency contact channels, or call 101.

If you do dial 999 emergency by mistake, don’t hang up. Speak to the operator and tell them you are safe before ending the call.