Gwent Police is urging the public to make the right choice when contacting them to help keep the 999-line free for emergencies.

They have launched the Make the Right Choice campaign, to make it easier for members of the public to know when and how to contact the police, and who to contact when reporting matters that are not for police, such as stray dogs, fly-tipping and parking problems.

Last month, 7,488 emergency calls and 25,481 non-emergency calls were received by the force control room.

This equates to a 21 per cent increase in emergency calls and a 21 per cent increase in non-emergency calls based on the same time last year.

From January 2021 – May 2021, the police received more than 29,000 emergency calls and 122,000 non-emergency calls. Of the 151,000 calls received from January to May, 36 per cent did not require a police response.

Many people are dialling 999 to report issues that don’t warrant an emergency and police need to keep the emergency line available to respond to members of the community who need help urgently.

Recent examples of people misusing 999:

“I have left my handbag on the bus.”

“Our neighbours’ dog is in our back garden, but she’s in work so we don’t know what to do.”

Recent example of a misuse of 101:

“I can’t get through to the DVLA as wait times are long. Do you have any other numbers for them?”

Superintendent Matt Williams, in charge of the first point of contact service, said: “We are urging members of our community to please make the right choice when contacting us. Before you get in contact, think - do you need the police or another agency?

“We have been experienced a high-volume of calls to both our 999 and 101 service. I have no doubt the recent hot weather and the ongoing health pandemic have played a part in the increase in calls.

“People have been misusing the 999 service which could be a matter of life or death for someone in our community. By working with us and making the right choice, you’re helping our call handlers get to those most in need of our help.

“Our 999-emergency contact line is here to help people in life-threatening situations or when a crime is in progress. There are many ways you can contact us with non-emergency queries including on our 101 non-emergency line, our online reporting tool on our website and through direct messages on social media via Facebook and Twitter.”

Always dial 999 in an emergency:

If there is danger to life or property

Reporting a crime that is in progress

A suspect is nearby

Violence is being used or threatened

Non-emergency reporting on 101/online and via social media:

Crimes that have already happened

Anti-social behaviour

An incident which doesn’t pose an immediate harm/risk

Incidents that don’t require an emergency response

When to contact your local authority:

Stray dogs

Noise complaints

Parking issues