Police departments across Japan are reporting an increase in bizarre requests for police intervention, with prank or otherwise insincere requests for assistance now reaching some 7% (4,800) of the total calls made (69,400).
A selection is reproduced below:
“My ice cream melted!”
“I was dumped by my girlfriend; what should I do?”
“The vending machine doesn’t have any change”.
“I’d like you to send a patrol car to take me somewhere”.
“I’ll give you $5 to go buy me some food, I’m starving!”
However, there is a serious side to this, and this has tempered the police’s willingness to dismiss these deranged requests out of hand. In the last case, the caller was a senile old man who lived alone, and really was starving to death. Police ensured he got proper care; “He may have died alone like that” they say. Police are also mindful of their duty to help citizens…
Responses actually made to these calls are full of such displays of saintly patience as: “Please check your fridge has power”, “Please call the vending machine management company”, etc. Perhaps this is wise, as dismissing these reports out of hand also carries the risk of accidentally dismissing a real incident, with potentially disastrous results.
A person formerly in charge of police dispatch has this to add: “20 years ago, we got some crazed requests, but nothing like it is now. Now they even make them to 119 (ambulance), not just 110 (police). I can’t help but think this is a question of changes in morality…”