21 August 2021

Waiting times blow out as concerned Canberrans jam police lines

| Kim Treasure
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Superintendent of Operations Rebecca Goddard

Superintendent of Operations Rebecca Goddard said emergency operations wait times are blowing out. Image: Screenshot.

ACT Policing is pleading with Canberrans not to call the emergency operations call centre needlessly as waiting times are blowing out.

Call waiting times for non-urgent calls to 131 444 have increased significantly as a result of misdirected and sometimes needless calls being made to police.

Superintendent of Operations Rebecca Goddard said people should consider if their call to police is really required.

“We understand that people are concerned about everyone doing the right thing during the lockdown but calling us to report two children not wearing masks while jumping on a trampoline in their backyard is a serious waste of our resources,” Superintendent Goddard said.

“We have also had calls about two people getting out of a car in a retail car park and calls from people seeking advice about exemptions or other health-related questions.

“These are not calls that should be made to police. These calls can delay important information about crimes currently being committed, such as family violence incidents, vehicle thefts, burglaries and information about missing persons, which has happened this week.

“One person reporting information about a missing person had to wait more than 30 minutes to speak with us.

“I am asking anyone who is about to call police to ask themselves – is this an immediate police matter? If not, there are other ways to provide your information or to get information.”

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The most up to date information about health directions is available at covid19.act.gov.au and legitimate matters of non-compliance with health directions can be reported at Access Canberra.

Information is updated regularly, and people should always check the COVID-19 website before making a compliance report.

For all legitimate police matters, call 131 444 or 000 in life-threatening situations.

ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce Commander Jo Cameron encouraged people who were uncertain about what may be happening around them during lockdown to connect with their neighbours in a safe, distant way.

READ ALSO Canberrans among the kindest people in Australia, but we’re urged to look after ourselves, too

“Knowing your neighbours and the people in your community is beneficial all the time, and particularly during an emergency or crisis such as what we are facing,” Commander Cameron said.

“Staying connected is critical to help combat feelings of loneliness or even anxiety that could arise or worsen as a result of staying home – which we’ve seen from some of the compliance reports made. Check in over the phone or online with your neighbours and leverage your built-in community.

“We would also like to thank the overwhelming majority of the community for coming together and doing a great job at complying with the current restrictions.”

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There should be a $50 charge applied to the telephone accounts of idiots who make these calls. It seriously is not that hard to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate to call the police assistance line or 000 for that matter.

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