Cyclist dialled 999 just to get police to help remove a bike lock

Nottinghamshire police are urging people to use the emergency 999 phone line responsibly.
Nottinghamshire police are urging people to use the emergency 999 phone line responsibly.

Nottinghamshire Police has issued a fresh plea for the public to use 999 responsibly after they revealed one of the latest “misplaced” emergency calls it has received from a cyclist.

The force’s busy Control Room handles thousands of 999 emergency calls each month and while the majority are made to request police support in genuine emergencies, 999 call handlers still receive a number of spurious and misplaced calls which delay them from dealing with the most urgent calls.

During one of the latest “misplaced” emergency 999 calls, the caller said: “I’ve locked my bike outside the supermarket but now I can’t get my lock off, can you help?”

Superintendent Paul Burrows, from Nottinghamshire Police’s Contact Management department, said: “The vast majority of the public understand that 999 is only for emergency calls but, despite the work we regularly do in the media, online and over-the-phone to explain to people how to use 999 responsibly, we do still receive a high number of misplaced calls to our emergency number.

“While some of the misplaced calls we receive range from honest errors of judgement to the more unusual, there is a serious point to be made here as every misplaced call our emergency call handlers receive has the potential to delay us from responding to genuine emergencies.

“All we’re asking is that people only call 999 in genuine emergencies and remember that there are other ways to contact us for less urgent enquiries, with the Nottinghamshire Police website - - offering advice on hundreds of policing and non-policing issues and the 101 non-emergency number also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The force’s advice for using 999 responsibly, is to please think before dialling and only call 999 when: life is in danger; or someone is seriously injured; or someone is using or threatening to use violence; a crime is in progress; or if there is serious damage being caused to property or whenever else an immediate police response is required.

For all other non-emergency policing matters, people are urged to call 101 or visit the Nottinghamshire Police website – – for advice on how to deal with hundreds of policing and non-policing matters.

By not calling 999 when it is anything less than an emergency, people can help to ensure Nottinghamshire Police’s team of emergency call handlers can be on-hand for when people really do need them.