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16th Apr 2023

Woman slammed for calling 999 to complain her bin ‘hasn’t been emptied in 2 weeks’

Charlie Herbert

‘The police are not here to empty waste bin’

Police have released a recording of a woman who called 999 to complain about her bins not being emptied.

Cambridgeshire Police shared the call on Twitter in an effort to remind people that 999 should only be used for emergency calls.

The woman spoke with police on the line for more than a minute, complaining that her “dustbin has not been emptied for two weeks.”

She was repeatedly told by the operator that she should be contacting the local council with her complaint. When she said she didn’t know the council’s number, the operator told her that 999 was not a “directory enquiries.”

He remained calm throughout the 67 second-long call.

Cambridgeshire Police has used it to show how police time can be wasted with non-emergency calls.

It tweeted: “Yes, this is a real 999 ’emergency’ call. Our call handlers often have to redirect incoming 999 calls that should be for either the non-emergency line (or our online services if you have access), or for other authorities altogether, like the council.”

The phone call began with the woman saying: “Now this might sound funny, I’ve rung every call I can get, my dustbin has been emptied for two weeks.”

And call handler replied: “Right okay that is not a 999 matter and it’s definitely not a police matter. You’re in Peterborough are you?”

When the woman said she lived in Paston he said she should call the council.

“Yeah, what I would suggest you do is phone Peterborough City Council,” he said while the caller responded: “I don’t know if I’ve got her number now.”

At that point the operator said: “Unfortunately this isn’t directory enquiries we don’t have their number but this is definitely not a 999 emergency and you will need to phone Peterborough City Council for that.”

But the woman was adamant continuing: “Yeah well it’s two weeks since they not emptied my bin and it stands out. I’m not being funny.”

The operator replied: “The police are not here to empty waste bins you will need to speak to the council about that.”

He added: “It’s not a life and death emergency, you are blocking up a 999 line so I would advise you to phone the council.”

The woman finished the call with a simple “thank you bye.”

Cambridgeshire Police released several other 999 calls which were not emergencies as part of its #NotFor999 campaign.

This included one from a man calling to cancel his bus pass, and another from someone who was calling because the bank had taken his card.

The force said that on average around 80 percent of the 999 calls it received should not have come through the emergency line.

For non-emergencies people can use the force’s online reports or web chat, or dial 101 if you do not have online access.

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