Calls to triple-zero by Canberrans over late-night lawn mowing, lost phones and poorly parked cars have prompted a reminder from police that the number is for emergencies only.
ACT Policing fields about 3,000 calls to triple-0 every month, but only half of those calls are for genuine emergencies.
Police say unnecessary calls include:
- Complaining about a neighbour mowing their lawn at 8:00 pm
- Asking police to help find a lost phone
- Seeking urgent child care because their partner is running late coming home from work
- Complaining someone has parked a car in front of their house
- Asking police to call their friend as the caller was out of phone credit.
In a statement, an ACT Policing spokesperson says these types of unnecessary calls are not on.
“Inappropriate use of the triple-zero number can potentially delay the response to those in genuine need, such as those who are in a life-threatening situation,” they said.
Making a non-emergency to call the emergency number end up costing you.
“It is an offence under ACT and Commonwealth legislation to make a false report to police, to cause police resources to be wasted,” the spokesperson says.
“It is simple – triple-zero is for a genuine emergency or life-threatening situation.”
To paraphrase a familiar line: anything you say on the emergency phone line could be used against you in a court of law.
“Callers are reminded that all calls to ACT Policing Communications, either through triple-zero or the Police Assistance line, are recorded,” the spokesperson says.
If you need to contact the police for a non-urgent situation, or to report something that’s not life-threatening, call 131 444.
Anyone with information about a crime can also call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.