Sergeant Michael Prickett on duty in the Bundaberg Police Station. The police take a number of unnecessary calls on the triple 000 number.
Sergeant Michael Prickett on duty in the Bundaberg Police Station. The police take a number of unnecessary calls on the triple 000 number. Mike Knott

Garage door problem? No reason to call 000

YOU'RE running late for bingo and your garage door won't close - who do you call?

The answer is definitely not 000.

Believe it or not, this was actually a real call taken by the Bundaberg Police 000 emergency call line this year, and is among many other time-wasting calls frustrating officers.

Bundaberg Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Erwin Hoffman said the station received about 700 calls to 000 each month.

"Out of those, as high as 95% don't require the use of the 000 line," he said.

Snr Sgt Hoffman said the emergency line should only be used in life-threatening matters where there was a danger to human life, or urgent matters that involve injury to people or property.

He said the majority of the calls related to non-emergent traffic complaints, snake sightings and even stock on the road.

"They are urgent to the caller but, generally speaking, they're either not a police matter or they are not life-threatening," he said.

"We do want to know about them, but they don't warrant the use of the 000 line."

Snr Sgt Hoffman said a lot of people would ring 000 when they did not know who else to call.

"I recall a woman one New Year's Eve a couple of years ago complaining she couldn't get through to her mother in England - all the telephone lines were being used," he said.

"Anything you can think of, we've had a 000 call about it."

Snr Sgt Hoffman said people may be of the mistaken belief that ringing triple zero would give the person a priority call.

"The first question we ask would be, 'where are you and what is the nature of your emergency?'," he said.

"The common ones are, 'it's not really an emergency, but...'.

"While these may sound funny and tongue-in-cheek, they are all taken from our actual job cards."

And with Bundaberg Police expecting a busy night tonight with New Year's Eve celebrations, the senior sergeant warned to stay clear of the 000 lines unless in an emergency.

"Because the calls are prioritised, (non-emergent calls) could tie up our 000 lines which means that a genuine call might not be able to get through," he said.

"They might only have the opportunity to make a five-second call to 000."

For non-urgent matters, people can ring Policelink on 131444 or, if they have information relating to a crime that has already happened, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Or ring the Bundaberg Police Station on 4153 9111.

 

REAL CALLS MADE TO 000:

  • I'm late for bingo and my garage door won't close
  • The tradesmen have started work next door and the noise is annoying
  • I found a stray dog
  • The cat next door won't stop meowing
  • I can't turn my air- conditioning off


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