Last year saw a 68.6 per cent jump in non-emergency calls to the Dubai Police operations room from 329,697 to 568,279, according to Brigadier Omar Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Director, Command and Control Centre, Dubai Police.
Of this, as many as 192,015 callers wanted to know addresses of police stations.
Of the 75,005 ‘unusual’ 999 calls received by the police, one caller wanted to know how to start his car as he had forgotten its keys in his country while another one wanted to know what to do as he had lost the keys to his house, said Brigadier Al Shamsi.
About 49,105 calls were simply ‘wrong number’ calls where callers said sorry and hung up as soon as the phone was answered. Some gave the excuse that children were playing with the phone.
Similarly, 13,572 calls were transferred to ‘901’ as they were enquiring about police services.
Callers reporting labour problems were diverted to the Human Rights Department.
Strange 999 calls are not uncommon, according to Brigadier Al Shamsi. One man called last year to complain about weak mobile phone signals. A hotel guest, mistaking 999 to be the room service number, called to ask food to be sent quickly to his room.
Thinking that 999 is Dewa’s emergency number, a caller sought help for fixing the leaking water pipe in his bathroom.
Another man wanted the police to help find him a housemaid to clean his house. One caller wanted to buy VIP parking space in the Global Village.
Instead of calling a nearby grocer, a man dialled 999, seeking a carton of eggs urgently. Another man called the police operations room at 2.30am to find out the time.
Brigadier Al Shamsi urged the public to call 999 only in emergencies, adding that silly calls may delay a really urgent call, putting the lives of people at risk.