The 999 Service is 80 Years Old Today and 35 Per Cent of Modern Calls are Accidents

By Gary Cutlack on at

BT is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the 999 emergency service summoning system today, and is using the occasion to publish a few interesting stats about our most remembered national number.

Like, for example, the fact that people never change. Even in its launch week back in London in 1937 there were some pranksters in action, with the 1,336 calls that were placed consisting of 91 from "practical jokers" offering the call handlers some sort of made up comedy emergency that needs solving. There are significantly more emergencies nowadays, mind, with BT saying it connects 560,000 calls a week to the emergency services.

They're not all reports of bad things happening, though, as even today, when we're supposed to be serious, a massive 35 per cent of all calls placed to the 999 number are done either by accident or by children dialling it for a laugh.

BT Ventures boss Nick Hale said: "Recent events in the UK mean people are acutely aware of the work of the emergency services and the value of the 999 service. I am extremely proud of the BT operators and their role in 999. They are an extremely capable and committed team working at the sharp end of the most important communication services in the country. Countless lives have been saved over the last 80 years because of their professionalism and dedication." [BT]

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