Homicide, burglary, and requests for chicken nuggets – Met Contact Centre shares details on prank calls received in 2020
From the period 1 January to 1 December 2020, staff at the Met's Contact Centre (MetCC) fielded a total of 3,540,185 101 and 999 calls, with over half coming from callers who required immediate assistance. Requests for service included attendance at ongoing burglaries, violent crimes and murder scenes.
MetCC’s 1,710 employees, who operate from three different call centres across London, are on hand 24 hours a day to deliver essential operational assistance to the officers and staff who make up the service, and be a point of contact for Londoners who are sometimes in extreme distress.
Sadly, amongst the calls from people in emergencies, the Met Contact Centre also received calls from people who asked whether they could have chicken nuggets, told call operators to "remember to shower, I can smell you from my house" and an individual who rang four times in one night despite openly admitting to not needing the police, apparently just calling for a chat.
As part of these repeat callers, MetCC also received calls from those who suffer with mental health issues such as dementia, and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia – some of whom called up to 15 times a day.
Chief Superintendent 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.
"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.”