University of Northampton students are working with Northamptonshire Police to help reduce the number of unnecessary 999 calls.
Latest figures show 70 per cent of calls made to the force’s control room via the 999 number do not require a police response.
Time-wasters in Northamptonshire in the last 12 months included a caller who rang police because his kebab had lettuce in and he “specifically asked not to have lettuce”.
Other nuisance calls included someone who said they had run out of credit on their mobile phone and another person who rang to see they had found a wasp nest.
A group of media production students from the University of Northampton have been asked to produce videos to help provide information to people considering calling with non-emergencies.
If successful, Northamptonshire Police will produce further videos itself, influenced by some of those created by the students.
Supt Dennis Murray, who is co-ordinating the initiative for Northamptonshire Police, said: “Northampton is the fastest-growing town in the country, so we are seeing an increase in demand for policing, but at the same time we are having to provide a service that is experiencing huge cuts in funding.
“It’s common for there to be around 1,000 incidents across the county in a day, and if there’s an accident on the motorway, we can get 200 to 300 calls in a few minutes. We have to answer a 999 call within 10 seconds, and manage to answer the majority within four seconds.
“When people dial 999 when they shouldn’t, it puts us under an even greater strain, and so we are hoping this initiative will help to educate such callers and change their behaviour, which will allow us to respond quickly to proper emergencies.”
The undergraduates will be spending the next few months developing their ideas and producing their films, with guidance from Northamptonshire Police and Senior Video Lecturer, Tim Coley.
Mr Coley said: “We arrange numerous opportunities for our students to work on live briefs for industry, which helps us to prepare them for the working world – it is great to think this is the first which could actually save valuable police time.”