Civil dispute over a lawn mower, a lift home and a fruit machine refusing to pay - some of the 999 calls made to Cambs Police

Supt James Sutherland - the officer in charge of public contact and now urging people to only call 9

Supt James Sutherland - the officer in charge of public contact and now urging people to only call 999 in a genuine emergency - Credit: Archant

A man who dialled 999 because a fruit machine refused to pay out and a civil dispute over a lawn mower are among a catalogue of inappropriate emergency calls to police in Cambridgeshire.

Other 999 calls quoted in a new report include asking for a lift home, a family dispute about who owns a dog and a man angry at being asked to leave a nightclub.

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “I have listened to some of the 999 calls coming into the control room and am frankly astounded at what some people are calling about.”

From July to the end of September this year Cambs police received 33,518 calls to 999 and 85,936 to 101.

Police have renewed their plea to only call 999 in an emergency and ensure the issue is a policing matter before dialling 101 or reporting online.

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Superintendent James Sutherland said: “Demand for service remains exceptionally high and it is vital people only dial 999 in a genuine emergency. Inappropriate calls could put lives at risk by causing a delay in us speaking to people in danger.

“If there is a genuine reason to make contact then we are here to serve the public, but we need to ensure the right response is given as soon as possible to those who really need us.”

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He said common examples of where the local authority should be contacted instead of police include reporting stray dogs and fly tipping when the suspects are not at the scene.

Cllr Ablewhite said: “The police will always respond to people who find themselves in a genuine emergency.

“However at a time when the force continues to face increasing demand, it is vital that people understand which service to call. I encourage everyone to #ClickB4UCall - getting it right might help save someone’s life.”

A campaign across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire has urged people to #ClickB4UCall. Some 101 calls are a request for information that can be found on the constabulary’s website. The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the online reporting and web chat facilities.

Supt Sutherland said: “We now have the facility to report non-emergencies via our website if people would rather make contact online than call 101.”

To report non-emergency incidents online visit

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