Officers and staff from Cleveland Police are highlighting the inappropriate use of 999 during International Control Room Week.

International Control Room Week launched on Monday 21stOctober and is supported by thousands of personnel from police, ambulance, fire and coastguard services across the UK and internationally.

The awareness-raising week highlights the life-saving and life-changing work which staff and officers deal with on a daily basis, with the Force receiving on average 335 emergency calls on the 999 line each day.

However, some of those calls received are an inappropriate use of the 999 system.

One example is a man who called 999 as he could not return his new trainers to a local sports shop.

Superintendent Emily Harrison, leading the Cleveland Police Control Room, said: “International Control Room Week is a celebration of our staff and officers who work tirelessly day in and day out to get valuable resources to people in their time of need. Their work is often life-saving and I would like to thank our staff in the Force Control Room for their amazing hard work and dedication to helping people.

“Unfortunately, we also often see people inappropriately using the 999 system, which shows misunderstanding on their part. It is important for us to highlight the inappropriate use of the 999 system, so that we can go as far as possible to ensure that people who are in genuine need of our help can get through to us in an emergency.”

In March this year, call taker Kathryn Longstaff was praised after she dispatched emergency services to a man who was only able to communicate through tapping, due to a medical condition he was suffering from.

The call talker knew that something was wrong and asked the man a series of questions which enabled her to confirm that he was in danger and needed urgent assistance. The man’s life was saved due to her quick-thinking actions.