Police are asking for patience from the public following an unprecedented rise in demand across Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.
The exceptional spell of hot weather, combined with the rise in the number of people visiting the area and the excitement of the World Cup, has seen more demand placed on call centres and officers.
Last Saturday Dorset experienced the highest number of 999 calls ever in a single 24-hour period outside of New Year’s Eve. This is on the back of an unprecedented rise in demand across the alliance over the summer months.
It was also the second busiest day in Devon and Cornwall’s history with approaching 1,500 incidents that required a police response – a normal Saturday would be in the region of 750.
The strategic alliance commander for operations, Chief Superintendent Glen Mayhew, said: “Firstly I want to thank my staff and officers across the alliance who have managed to meet this surge in demand across all areas of policing. Despite the pressure this undoubtedly brings, I am proud of their collective efforts and how they continue to deliver a great service to our public in the face of this unprecedented rise in demand.
“It’s not just Devon, Cornwall and Dorset that is experiencing this rise, this is a pattern that is being reported by forces across the country right now.
“The heatwave, along with the increase in number of visitors to our area and the euphoria of England’s progress in the World Cup has seen demand on the police rise across all areas of policing.
“On top of this, we have the added responsibility of offering mutual aid to our partners in Wiltshire, as well as in the capital as part of the Donald Trump visit to the UK.
“But we are also urging the public to take a bit of personal responsibility to help reduce demand on the police service. For example we are still receiving dozens of calls a day because people continue to leave dogs in hot cars during a heatwave.
“We understand that people are incredibly excited over England’s progress in the World Cup and the vast majority are enjoying this safely and responsibly, but we urge that win or lose, people act responsibly and don’t put themselves or others in danger by their actions.
“We are having an increase in demand due to those who continue to sit behind the wheel of a car whilst under the influence, or drive the morning after a night out when still over the limit.
“We also ask that people consider their level of drinking. These hot days lead to dehydration, coupled with people consuming an increased level of alcohol, this has seen a rise in the number of assaults in our towns and cities and increases the risk of domestic violence taking place in the home.
“Devon, Cornwall and Dorset still remains a safe place to live or visit, but we urge local communities to look out for each other. This weather can lead to health challenges to the young and elderly so please check on your neighbours.
“We are asking that the public continue to be patient and to work with us. Our websites are a great source of information for the public packed with crime prevention advice including Ask Ned, the non-emergency database, which has answers to hundreds of questions that the public may have so please click before you call.
“We ask that people only call 999 in a genuine emergency. Please be assured that our alternative methods of police contact including the 101 email are still more than suitable and will continue to receive a timely response.”