Is a missing snowman really reason to call 999?

The car was driving across the Tay Bridge into Fife earlier today (Thursday)
The car was driving across the Tay Bridge into Fife earlier today (Thursday)

Police Scotland is today (23 May 2016) launching a campaign to remind people of the appropriate way to use 101 and 999 numbers.

Around 2.8 million 101 non-emergency calls are made every year in Scotland, while just under half a million emergency calls are placed via 999. Most of those calls are made appropriately but some are not, for example:

• A woman calling 999 to report her snowman had been stolen

• A man calling to say he had been given a ‘dirty look’ by his neighbour

• A woman dialled 101 reporting a large spider in her house and asking the Police to help as she couldn’t sleep

• A man asking what to do if his car tyres were under-inflated

• A woman asking Police to check her height

Although these calls may seem amusing, they are taking a call handler away from what could be an important 999 call and a member of the public who may need urgent assistance.

Chief Superintendent Roddy Newbigging, Divisional Commander of Police Scotland’s Contact Command and Control Division said:

“Our campaign is a timely reminder to people to use 101 and 999 properly. Call handlers deal with a call every 10 seconds. They are highly trained, skilled and knowledgeable and are there to help. Most people contact the Police appropriately but there are a small percentage who do not – this abuse of 101 and 999 could cost lives.

“Our message is simple - if it’s an emergency call 999. In a non emergency situation, dial 101.”

101 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be used from anywhere in Scotland to contact Police Scotland or any other force in the UK.

Members of the public can also use the Police Scotland website to report a range of issues, including domestic abuse, hate crime, child abuse, wildlife crime and lost property. Alternatively, they can approach a police officer on duty or attend at a police station front counter.

More information about 101 and the ways to contact Police Scotland is available on the Police Scotland website via

Look out for the hashtag #101and999aware.