Police plea over non-urgent matters

POLICE have urged people to use the police assistance line for non-urgent matters, after an inspector revealed that most triple-0 calls are not time-critical.

Last financial year police received about 48,000 triple-0 calls in Tasmania - about 4000 a month.

Nationally, at least 60 per cent of triple-0 calls are for non-urgent matters.

Inspector Brian Edmonds, radio dispatch services officer-in-charge, said yesterday that the national figure reflected the Tasmanian experience.

"There is a reasonably high percentage," he said.

"Some are inadvertent in activation; people bump a mobile in their pocket and accidentally make a call.

"Quite often, they are people like young children, ringing from a phone box or a mobile phone, and it's a prank call.

"And a lot of the time, there are calls from other people who have a genuine reason to call police, but are calling about non-urgent, non-time- critical issues."

Inspector Edmonds said people should call the national Police Assistance Line on 131 444, a 24-hour service, if their matter was not urgent.

He said this would free police to respond to life- threatening and time-critical emergencies.

"We get a number of calls to triple-0 that might relate to people coming home and finding their house has been broken into, which requires police attendance," Inspector Edmonds said.

"But unless the offender was on the premises, it's less urgent.

"Likewise, with a motor vehicle crash, where someone is not critically injured or trapped, and they need to report that to police, 131 444 is the appropriate number."

Inspector Edmonds advised people to save 131 444 in their phones.

Government agencies Australia-wide also support the "Triple Zero Kids' Challenge" game app, designed to teach kindergarten and primary school children about calling emergency services.

Visit www.kids.triplezero.gov.au

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