The North Yorkshire Police force control room sees a huge spike in the volume of calls it is dealing with during the summer months - including a lot of calls where time-wasting questions are asked.
The police have released a list of 10 questions not to ask the police, as part of their #KnowWhenToCall campaign which urges people to think carefully before calling, to help understand what the police can and can't help with, to free up calls for genuine emergencies.
These are the 10 questions, with responses underneath from North Yorkshire Police...
Can you give me directions to…
It might seem ridiculous but our Communications Officers genuinely do receive calls from members of the public asking for directions to get to a particular place and sometimes even advice on where to park their cars when they get there!
I’ve missed the last train home. Can someone give me a lift?
We do find that sometimes people will call the police as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for any kind of query, no matter how bizarre or unnecessary. Whilst we want to help wherever we can, we don’t run a taxi service and we are not here to assist in making travel arrangements.
Someone keeps letting their dog foul the street outside my house, can you make them stop?
Dog fouling is an offence but this is something which will be dealt with by your local council. In some cases PSCO’s can deal with dog fouling but we would always advise you to call the council in the first instance. If possible, it is helpful to provide the date, time and any details of the dog owner.
There’s a stray dog in our local park, please can you come and collect it?
Stray dogs are not a police responsibility so if you find one, you should call your local council and ask for the dog warden. Dog wardens are responsible for picking up stray dogs found in public places.
My next door neighbour keeps playing loud music and it stops me sleeping. Can you visit and tell them to stop?
Noise complaints should always be reported to the Environmental Health department of your local council. In some extreme cases, at particularly unsociable times of day, the police may be able to visit a property and ask them to reduce the noise but we have no powers of prosecution for noise offences.
I keep getting loads of unsolicited junk emails. Can you get people to stop sending them to me?
Junk emails are not a police responsibility so you could try contacting your internet service provider (ISP) for help reducing the amount of junk emails you receive.
Someone is fly-tipping in my local area. Can I report this to you?
Fly-tipping should always be reported to your local council in the first instance. As part of Operation Eyeball, we are working in partnership with councils and other organisations to tackle fly-tipping in a number of ways including vehicle stops and checks and the sharing of intelligence.
What day will my recycling be collected?
Although we are fully supportive of local recycling schemes, we cannot assist you with finding out which days your bins will be collected. Your local council is the best place to locate this information.
I’ve paid a builder to do some work on my house but he’s not completed it and now he’s disappeared. Can you help me get my money back?
Rogue traders and problems with goods and services that you have paid for should not be reported to the police. Instead you should call Citizen’s Advice and ask to be put through to Trading Standards who will be able to help you.
I don’t want to get stuck in the traffic from the races. Can you let me know what time the roads will be busiest?
Whilst we may provide details of road closures or traffic problems through our social media channels and website, you should not call the police for travel updates or advice on avoiding busy roads. We work hard to keep our roads safe but we are not here to advise on journey planning.