Residents in South Yorkshire have complained that calling 999 for Police assistance is sometimes a complete waste of time. Graham Roope complained "My pet hamster, Harry the Hamster, escaped from his cage and went under the floorboards in the bathroom. I dialed 999 and asked for some Police assistance. The operator told me to 'fuck off'. Harry was later eaten by next door's cat. Harry didn't have to die. The Police killed my Harry."
Another complaint came from John Childs. "I wanted to call my mother but had run out of credit. My mother is in her 80s so it was a real emergency that I phoned her and reminded her that Graham Norton was going to be on the One Show that night. She loves him. So I called 999 and asked them to send somebody round to tell her. The operator was quite angry and he refused to help. Mother was so upset that she missed Graham Norton that her head exploded. The Police are responsible for her death."
South Yorkshire Police were unrepentant. Chief Constable Mike Denness said "My officers want to do real police work like investigating murders and getting involved in high speed chases. They do not want to waste their time dealing with members of the public. We are a Police force not a public service."