Police in Bedfordshire are facing ‘unprecedented’ levels of demand and are urging people to only ring 999 in an emergency.
Bedfordshire Police had its busiest day of the year so far on Saturday, with 612 calls made to 999, 50 per cent more than the 409 calls received on New Year’s Day, typically the busiest day of the year.
In total, the force received almost 3,000 calls and web chats over the weekend, and with the upcoming World Cup Semi-Final, the US Presidential visit, and Bedford River Festival this weekend, the demand on the force is showing no signs of abating.
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire said: “Last weekend was without a doubt our busiest weekend of the year and we are expecting to continue to see these unprecedented levels of demand throughout the week and into next weekend.
“We have a number of officers who are providing aid ahead of the US Presidential visit and England’s success in the World Cup, while great to see, is also really impacting our levels of resources.
“We’re asking for the public’s understanding during this extremely busy time as we may take a little longer than usual to answer calls and to respond to incidents.
“However I want to reassure you we are working as hard as we can and we are continuing to prioritise those incidents which have the highest risk of harm.”
Chief Inspector Rachael Glendenning, from the force’s first contact centre, said: “We are doing our best to answer calls as quickly as possible; however, the public can help us by only calling 999 if it is a genuine emergency – which is if a serious crime is in progress or if there is an immediate risk to life.
“If the call is not an emergency, then you may not receive an immediate police response. Each call we receive is assessed on its threat, risk and harm.
“Where crimes are no longer in progress or if there is no immediate risk to the victim or those associated to them, response officers will not be deployed and an appointment will instead be made with the victim at a time and date to suit them.
“If you want to provide information about a crime that is no longer in progress, such as a drug dealing in your area, then you can submit it via our website.
“The site also has a host of useful information and advice, so if it isn’t an emergency please do visit our website in the first instance.”
To give information about a crime which is not in progress, or for general police enquiries, please visit the Bedfordshire Police website.