Peel Regional Police data show that from July 1 to 16, police received 22,000 calls to its emergency line, of which 4,700 were determined to be misuse — around 21 per cent. In June, 9,500 of 41,000 emergency calls, roughly 23 per cent were determined to be misuse.
For a while now, Peel Police have been sending out press releases and statements attempting to educated residents about when they need to call 911. On Tuesday, police received a 911 call about a water leak from a resident’s refrigerator who expected the police to help with the cleaning up.
“While we understand that a water leak from your refrigerator is concerning and annoying, it’s definitely not a call for 9-1-1 and no we won’t come and clean it up,” Peel police tweeted. “Instead, shut off the water and call a plumber.”
The call follows just 10 days after police received a 911 call from a resident complaining about ice cream trucks.
“The 911 system was designed to help bring emergency services to someone in need during a life-threatening situation,” Const. Akhil Mooken said. “Our communicators are highly trained and great at what they do but when a call is received to 911 for a non-emergency situation, it takes that communicator away from someone who needs it.”
A 911 call that isn’t an emergency is deemed a “misuse call.” Police said the issue poses a challenge for call takers as each misuse call delays the response time for all emergency service workers — police, fire, and ambulance — to attend actual emergencies.
In his presentation to regional council in June, Chief Chris McCord said of the 710,000 total calls received in 2018, more than 182,000 — roughly 25 per cent — were misuse calls.
Add to that the volume of residents calling in 911 to complain about Amber Alerts and you have a serious problem at the wrong end of the line.
To get a handle on this problem Peel Police need to make it known to the public who these people are, as in, new Canadians who don’t know English or have flat out ignorant or are these educated fools. Calling 911 to report a water leak is something even a 5-year-old knows not to do. -CINEWS