|...you believe someone is in danger or you see a crime taking place|
|...you see someone acting suspiciously|
|...you are unsure about a caller at your door|
|...you receive nuisance or obscene telephone calls|
In an emergency always dial 999.
An emergency means someone is in immediate danger, or a crime is taking place right now. If it is not an emergency, please do not call 999. The police try to answer 999 calls within 10 seconds, and even faster if possible. However, only one in every six 999 calls is a real emergency.
Note that the Police have introduced a call grading system whereby calls are prioritised according to the seriousness of the matter and allocated a grading from 1 (serious and immediate threat) to 6. This grading determines the target response time.
For non-emergency calls please contact the local police station (details on the Useful Resources page).
If you see someone acting suspiciously, do not approach them. Try to note as much detail as possible about the person's appearance and actions, along with any vehicle they may be using (ideally the registration number) without drawing attention to yourself. If possible, write these details down as soon as you get the opportunity, along with a note of the date & time.
Contact the local police station (details on the Useful Resources page) as soon as possible. Do not call 999 unless it is an emergency.
Most people who call at your home will be genuine, but you should always be wary of any unexpected callers at your door. It is possible that they may be bogus callers with the intention of getting into your home to commit theft or to con you into giving them money for sub-standard services or fake charities.
Always ensure any back doors are locked before answering the front door. Thieves sometimes work in pairs with one distracting you whilst the other enters by another door.
If you have a door chain then put it on before opening the door.
Do not assume the caller is genuine just because they are smartly dressed, well spoken or sound convincing. Ask to see their identity card and check it carefully. If in doubt then ask them to wait whilst you verify their identity by calling their organisation (using a number from the phonebook, not that on the card). Genuine callers will not mind waiting whilst you do this.
If the caller becomes impatient or aggressive then close the door immediately and contact the police.
If you receive a nuisance or obscene phone call, try not to get worked up as this is often what the caller is trying to achieve. Remain calm, don't engage in conversation with the caller and just put the phone down. Dial 1471 to check the caller's number. It's quite likely they'll have withheld it, but if not then write it down along with the date & time.
If they call back then one option is to just ignore it (i.e. don't answer), particularly if you have an answering machine. Alternatively, if they persist then simply answer it, press MUTE, lay the phone down and leave it for a while. They should eventually give up.
As a general rule don't give out any information to callers (even just your name) unless you are sure who they are. Don't answer your phone by giving your name. If a caller doesn't introduce themself but starts by asking who they are speaking to, then reply by asking them who they are looking for. If they can't say, then ask who they are and what the purpose of their call is. Any legitimate caller should happily tell you this before expecting you to give them any information. If they say the name of someone else who doesn't live there, just politely tell them they have a wrong number. If they persist, don't give your name, just repeat that there is nobody there with that name and hang up.
If you are repeatedly troubled by nuisance callers then contact your telephone service provider for further information as each one has a different policy for dealing with these types of calls. They may advise you to report the calls to the police who will give you an incident number. You should retain this number for future reference and also give it to your service provider so they can assist the police.
You may wish to consider changing your number and making it ex-directory. If you are receiving unwanted marketing calls then register with the Telephone Preference Service where you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls to your home or mobile telephone numbers. It is a legal requirement that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so.