The National Police Agency (NPA) is asking the public not to use the emergency 110 phone number to make non-urgent calls.
The NPA said in a report released on Sunday, which is designated as 110番の日 (#110 Day), that from Jan 1 to Nov 30 last year, a total of 7,654,794 calls were made to 110 nationwide. The number was 7.8% less than in 2019.
The NPA attributed the decrease to fewer traffic accidents and less street crime because more people stayed home and cut back their travel during the state of emergency declared over the coronavirus in April and May last year.
However, the NPA said 19.3% of calls had nothing to do with crimes or accidents. Examples given were people calling 110 to complain that shoppers weren’t keeping their distance at supermarket checkouts; complaints about cars with license plates from certain prefectures coming to prefectures where coronavirus cases were low at the time; some asking where they could get a PCR test for the coronavirus; others asking for a ride home in police cars because there were no taxis; and inquiries about what to do for meals for children who had to stay home while schools were closed.
The NPA has asked the public to phone the help hotline (#9110) for mundane requests that would otherwise deter police from responding to accidents and disasters.© Japan Today