Every so often, I decide to play the role of “responsible human being”. Today, it turned out, was one of those days.
When I got in to work, I could see that three cars in the vicinity had been broken into (or at least had their windows smashed) so opted to do the ‘responsible human’ thing, and called 101 – the UK Police’s non-emergency number. No point in doing an emergency 999, as no-one else was visible, and the damages could’ve happened any time overnight.
So 101 it was. And while I get that it’s for non-urgent stuff and so on, but man alive, what an absolute faff.
The call goes through, and starts off with “Which police force do you require?”. (Probably because I called on my mobile – calling from a landline would’ve localised things. I assume) That’s fine, if you know who you need to speak to. But if I hadn’t known that Milton Keynes is covered by Thames Valley Police, I’d have been knackered from stage one.
Then we go on to a recorded message from the chief of Thames Valley. Why? No idea. I assume it’s part of the script of 101 – I’ve heard similar on other calls to different forces – but it seems (to me) to be utterly pointless.
And then we get the voice-response asking what you want to do. If you know the name/number you want to speak to, type it now, or press [whatever] to report a crime.
And then we get some piece of crap recorded message about victim support.
And finally, finally, when all that’s done, I finally spoke to someone – who was helpful, and made sense. But what a horrific fucking faff in order to do something I didn’t even need to.
All told, it certainly makes it easy to see why people prefer to call 999, even for non-emergency stuff. At least the response to it is quicker, and gets rid of all that recorded bullshit.