Herts police release 999 call of woman calling to wish “Merry Christmas”

POLICE have released a recording of a 999 call in which a woman rang to check if it was Christmas Day before wishing the call-taker a Merry Christmas.

The sound bite has been released to serve as a reminder before New Year’s Eve that making a hoax call can stop important 999 calls getting through and divert resources away from handling genuine emergencies.

The call was made at 1.50am in the early hours of Boxing Day. The operator can be heard asking if the call is being made to report an emergency, to which the woman replies “no”.

It came during a busy period in which police had already received 45 other calls.

“This kind of reckless behaviour could not only result in a criminal conviction for the foolish caller, it could also ultimately put other genuine callers’ lives at risk while they wait for their call to be answered or for officers to arrive,” said Jason Baxter, assistant manager at the Force Communications Room.

“Our message is making hoax calls like this is not funny or cool. In fact, the joke could be on you should we decide to release your call to the public or even arrest you.

“As New Year’s Eve approaches, I am asking people to think before they make that call.

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“Is it a genuine emergency- immediate threat to life or property? If not, it is not a 999 call.

“If it is not a matter for police at all, it’s plain and simple- don’t call us so we can keep the lines free for those who do need our help.”

The festive season, which includes New Year’s Eve, is traditionally a very busy period for police. Last year, between December 31 and January 1, calls received by police were more than double the average.

Between 7pm and 7am there were around 800 calls to both 999 and non-emergency numbers compared to the usual 300.

The recording can be listened to on YouTube by visiting www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqfyXgMjUwY

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