Hoax callers a nuisance for Police on busiest night

South Yorkshire Police logo.
South Yorkshire Police logo.

Drunken callers from Doncaster, and across the region, rang South Yorkshire Police on New Year’s Eve asking for lifts home, requesting bus times and making false reports of crime.

Figures released today show that, on the busiest night of the year, police were inundated with nuisance calls to 999.

One caller rang from Doncaster bus station to ask call handlers if they could help him get back to Pontefract as there were no more buses running.

A woman described as “hysterical” rang 999 after a taxi driver asked her to pay her fare up front, while another caller rang with the noise of a loud house party in the background, claiming he was Frank Gallagher from the television drama “Shameless.”

Shortly before 3am on New Year’s Day, a man called police to ask if officers could drive his drunken girlfriend back home to Derby, and another caller rang to say he’d lost his house keys.

Tracy Potter, operations manager at South Yorkshire Police, said: “As a Force we had planned resources in advance in order to manage the high number of calls and incidents, which were expected.

“Prior to midnight the number of incidents were relatively low, with there being the expected number of revellers in the town centres, but in good spirits.

“But there were 572 calls to 999 between midnight and 5am, generating a total of 737 incidents. Of these, 219 were immediate and 123 were priorities for police officers to attend.

“The majority of incidents related, as expected, to alcohol-fuelled incidences of fighting and domestic incidents.

“Overall, it was a busy start to the New Year, with all South Yorkshire Police personnel striving to maintain a high level of service to the public.

“What we could have done without were the nuisance and hoax calls made by people who obviously had nothing better to do on New Year’s Eve than waste police time and, potentially, prevent us from getting to a serious incident as quickly.”

There were also false reports of crime, which took up valuable police.

One 18-year-old man rang 999 saying that a car had driven at him, knocked him over and driven off at speed.

Police graded the call as an “immediate response”, the highest level of priority, but found the teenager with no injuries. He had apparently made the story up.

Another man claimed he had been assaulted, although he had actually fallen down the stairs.

Total calls made to South Yorkshire Police over the New Year period were up by around eight per cent from 2012.

Between 6am on December 31 2013 and 6am on January 1 2014 there were 1,849 calls made to the Force.

These figures compare to 1,710 such calls made to South Yorkshire Police over the equivalent 24-hour period the previous year.

On an average day the Force would expect to receive between 1,100 and 1,200 calls.