ONLY a third of 999 calls to police in West Yorkshire were classed as genuine emergencies new figures have revealed.
In 2010 West Yorkshire Police received 392,364 calls but only 129,487 were deemed necessary of an emergency response.
The figures obtained in a Freedom of Information Request to every police Force in the country further showed West Yorkshire has one of the busiest emergency call rates in the country.
Nationally 7,541,711 999 calls were made to police with 1,863,845 – 25% being deemed an emergency compared to 33% in West Yorkshire.
Callers with enquires about stolen cars, damaged property, drug dealing or a minor traffic accident are now being urged to call the new non-emergency 101 number.
The figures come just after the time when additional seasonal demands were placed on 999 police call handlers who have also had to deal with hoax calls.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said crank callers put lives at risk.
“The sheer volume of calls coming into the force means that time is of the essence,” he said.
“Our officers need to deal with emergency calls quickly in what can be potentially life threatening situations and anyone who wastes both their time and officers’ time with hoax calls is putting lives at risk.
“People might not realise the seriousness of what they are doing, but I need to stress just how dangerous making a hoax call can be.”
One example released by neighbouring force Greater Manchester Police revealed a man dialled 999 to ask how long it would take to defrost his Christmas turkey.
The force issued this in a bid to deter others from wasting their time with calls which are not genuine emergencies.
Earlier this year West Yorkshire Police unveiled a new structure for handling all emergency and non emergency calls at the force’s Wakefield HQ.
The building has streamlined the process for callers and has seen 250 contact centre operators ‘upskilled’ to deal with all types of calls.