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Homicide, burglary, and chicken nuggets – why did people call 999 this year?

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Homicide, burglary, and requests for chicken nuggets – Met Contact Centre shares details on prank calls received in 2020.

Operating across London, staff at the Met Contact Centre (MetCC) are on hand 24 hours a day to give essential assistance to police staff and distressed Londoners.

And in a report released today (Dec 30), the MetCC revealed that from January 1 to December 1, 2020, staff received 3,540,185 calls to 101 and 999 services.

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Although over half came from callers who required immediate assistance – for burglaries, violent crimes and murder scenes – other requests were stranger.

Amongst these were requests for chicken nuggets and a caller who said, “remember to shower, I can smell you from my house”.

The Met also revealed that one person rang the helplines four times in one night, apparently just for a chat.

Repeat callers also included people who suffer from mental health issues such as dementia and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia – some of whom called up to 15 times a day.

David Jackson, Head of Contact, Command and Control at the Met, said:

“Operators at Met Contact Centre are required to work at a high technical level, perpetually under time pressure, and deal with calls that are quite often a matter of life and death. It is truly disappointing that a minority of people have chosen to prank call the service.

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“We appeal to the public to act responsibly when using the lines – there could be a situation unfolding which is worsening by the minute, and our operators’ valuable time and skills are essential in these instances.

“We reserve the right to prosecute nuisance callers under either Malicious Communications or s127 Communications Act (Misuse 999) legislation.”

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