back to article Called 999 recently? They've got your number

Millions of people who reported crimes have had their details stored on police databases. The revelation has emerged from information provided in response to a freedom of information request from the Press Association. It shows that police forces in England and Wales have kept data about people who call 999 or non-emergency …

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mt1
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Story?

Wheres the story here?

Seems like is i reported something i would expect the poilce to have a record of it if i called back 6 months later

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Coat

RE: mt1

You mean when you phone to ask why the police never turned up when you phoned them 6 months ago?

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FAIL

Re:Story?

Personal Data should only be retained as long as necesisary.

6 months would be a reasonable retention.

12 years is the implementation of a police state

I would personally suggest that information on callers for closed cases more than 3 years ago, should not be held

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Anonymous Coward

Police state ?

My arse.

Check out (for example) Amnesty International's website or read (amongst others) Koestler or Solzhenitsyn to get a clue as to what a real police state is like. There's plenty of other examples from the last century to draw on (and no, squawking "Godwin" establishes nothing, apart from your lack of intellect.).

AC because it's only in Police states that you have to prove your identity at every turn.

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WTF?

not really surprising

And the police wonder why noone wants to help

"senior officers admitted the information could be used against people as part of any future police investigation"

What a joke.

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No, not really surprising

It would be utterly bizarre if the police didn't keep records of 999 calls.

The fact that you called and the fact of what you said are ... facts. Liable to be used as evidence, most likely to prosecute the person who committed the crime you are reporting, but potentially against the person making the report.

If someone was continuously harrassing you by making false allegations to the police, would you prefer the police to tell you each time that they had no record of the previosu calls? Or that they couldn't use that as evidence? If someone reports discovering a body are they to be automatically excluded as a murder suspect?

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You are missing the point.

The length of time that calls are being held is beyond reasonable. Simply logging the call, and the recording of the call, for a short while (six months would be ideal) unless something else indicates that it needs to kept longer (perhaps it is a a call from someone being involved in an actual incident) is fine. Beyond that, perhaps a simple log of numbers called from can be kept for a while longer to identify false callers, but the requirement of reasonableness still applies, so let's say two or three years.

Hanging on to anything and everything because it *may* be useful later is contrary to Data Protection rules, and is distinctly creepy. This sort of action by the police is why I don't trust them as a body any more, and would not go out of my way to assist any individual member.

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Black Helicopters

Audio

Perhaps it would be best not to mention how long they retain the audio recording of your 999 call.... you know, with voice recognition, voiceprint analysis and such these days.

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If they didn't log calls

They'd have no way of catching dickheads who repeatedly dial 999 for no reason, like this one

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-12009613

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FAIL

Sometimes I despair at the human race

Especially when reading stories like this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-11908583

Calling 999 because someone stole your snowman? using teaspoons for arms and pound coins for the eyes?

Please El Reg Webmaster, can we have an Idiocracy icon, maybe the Brawndo logo (it's got electrolytes!)

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Boffin

Guess data is stored in SAP systems

I took them three years to get the guy who was rapping and chanting ... guess the data is stored in SAP systems, so we are all safe - no worries!

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Anonymous Coward

Level of trust

I just looked at the Policing Pledge from my local force (Surrey). Interestingly I couldn't find a snigle instance of the word "trust".

I think that says it all.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Not really, it depends what all the other words said.

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Anonymous Coward

Their words

http://www.surrey.police.uk/2859_Police_Pledge.pdf

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Black Helicopters

Is anyone really surprised?

For once, I feel the copper spokesperson at the end is right - most people would expect police to hold this type of data. I've called my local non-emergency number a few times to report the odd thing here and there, and now I think about it, I would expect this information to be recorded. Why else would they ask for your name and address if they were just going to forget it?

However, I'm a little disconcerted to hear that the information could be used against people during future investigations, though in my case I struggle to see how reporting broken traffic lights or dangerously parked cars will come back to bite me!

I hope I've not jinxed it now - anonymous for that reason!

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WTF?

999 is for emergencies

"However, I'm a little disconcerted to hear that the information could be used against people during future investigations, though in my case I struggle to see how reporting broken traffic lights or dangerously parked cars will come back to bite me!"

Maybe traffic is worse where you live than where I live, but I would have great difficulty justifying a 999 call for a broken traffic light or badly parked car.

If those examples really reflect your usage of the 999 service I am amazed you haven't been bitten already

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Anonymous Coward

Title Required

He did say he used the non emergency number and not the 999 number...although parking on corners opposite junctions and the like is now the only way of getting parked around where I live... However I have used the non emergency number to report dangerous (IMO) driving and the like.

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Grenade

An explanation of the downvotes for the hard of thinking

Referring to the original post:

> I've called my local non-emergency number a few times

Why won't you read it properly?

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But the non-emergency number isn't

If you'd read a bit further up on the post you quoted, you'd have noticed the:

"I've called my local non-emergency number a few times to report the odd thing here and there"

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Headmaster

Ooops FAIL

Suggest you read the original comment again. Or at least :

"I've called my local NON-EMERGENCY number a few times..."

Of course the 999 service should be recording the callers details. As previously stated they are facts related to a potentially life-threatening incident.

And since 999 uses Automatic Number Identification instead of Caller ID, they always have the source telephone number. ANI cannot be blocked.

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FAIL

Note the words "local non-emergency number"

As title

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FAIL

and text is for reading!

Notice that the original AC was talking about the non-emergency number, as evidenced by the usage of the words "I've called my local non-emergency number a few times".

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how it could be used in the future?

Well, for one, if I report there's someone who's left their car door open on the non emergency line, and the next day the car was stolen, I'd fully expect them to connect the dots and say "oh hey, yeah, we got a report about that last night".

Or if I reported someone breaking in to a house who fit a certain profile and then they catch someone 2 weeks later breaking into another house who was wearing the same clothes / eye patch / tatoos etc, again I'd expect them to say "oh hay, so and so reported this guy last week, let's look at the evidence and see if we can charge them for that crime as well".

wtf?

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Reporting dangerously parked cars

Dangerous if you do not know who the owner is ... if it is a copper, you are in deep ...

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Anonymous Coward

Mea Culpa

Thank you to you and all those people below who pointed out my lapse of attention when (mis)reading the original post.

It came as a great relief - I saw a ton of downthumbs and no replies before I left my computer and was seriously wondering if the Reg readership was composed of busybodies with too much time on their hands.

Probably the first and only time I have been glad to be flamed.

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WTF?

Could be some reason for keeping details

It could be useful for police forces to keep details, like in the case of the woman who committed suicide due to bullying. If the police kept details that she has called them a few times, then it should have triggered something on their systems, meaning they will have to carry out full proper checks. However, the problem is that the police cannot be trusted, especially in London. They have used the details against someone, which is a major problem.

If they don't keep the name, then at least keep details of the area that crime is occurring. So, I am undecided, hence the wtf.

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It wont even help...

I live in the same village where Fiona Pilkington lived and she repeatedly phoned the police to tell them what was going on.

The data capture side is already there, we have been doing it for years. At some point these system will need to be joined up to offer a coherent glance at a full case/supporting evidence.

However, with the state of our governement getting the go ahead to join these systems whilst still keeping public confidence would be very difficult.

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And from now on...

Anyone needing me to call the police in an emergency, had better hope the nearest payphone hasn't been vandalized.

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Paranoia

You're really saying you'd put your own privacy ahead of someone else' well being or the protection of their property?

With an attitude like that I'm not surprised you want to keep your life private.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes

I value my privacy over your property, just as I value my property over your privacy.

If you still haven't quite grasped the point yet ... I value my property over your property.

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Badgers

Given that...

... if I don't call the police for someone else in an emergency, nothing happens to me (inaction is not punishable - at least not yet), but if I do call, there is a finite risk that it will come back to bite me on the arse, then yes, I agree with that sentiment. However, I would like someone else to call the police if I am in an emergency situation, and so, following the Golden Rule, I must put myself at risk for someone else's sake. However, in putting myself at risk, I am also putting people I know at risk, since the top of most suspect lists is the caller followed by those around them. Do I have the right to do this?

The problem is that the police in this country have lost all the good-will they had up to not that long ago by acting as if they are separate from the society they should serve, not control. Successive governments have been complicit in this, and now there is effectively no way to retrieve the situation. Society is, as a result, more dangerous, and less effective at protecting those that need protection, which is a disgrace.

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Ian Readhead, director of information.

Some people's names perfectly describe their job.

I know a guy called Web who manages Internet sites...

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Anonymous Coward

unsurprising

The alternative being.

"Hello Police? my neighbour's on a rampage with a hammer. I phoned an hour ago.....My name is Smith... yes an hour ago.....Floral Avenue.....yes, I called just after 3:30..... you don't keep records!"" etc .

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One way they use it against you

A publican friend of mine recently rang the plods to report a drunk who was staggering past his boozer, wandering on and off the road and generally causing mayhem.

He was not a little pissed off at a subsequent pubwatch meeting to be told that because he'd reported it, the incident had been recorded as trouble caused by his pub. Oddly enough, his inclination to report problems that are nothing to do with his pub has somewhat diminished.

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Dead Vulture

Quiet news day?

Has someone seriously written an article saying that the police keep a record of phone emergency calls? You can tell people are just returning to work after Christmas.

"senior officers admitted the information could be used against people as part of any future police investigation" — And where does this say that 'people' necessarily implies the person who made the call? This just means that having a record of a 999 call is another piece in the puzzle when it comes to prosecuting criminals. What I've quoted is weasel words written by someone trying to make out the police said something specific that should put fear into anyone thinking about reporting a crime to the police, when in fact the police officer's wording was a generic reference to police record keeping.

This 'piece' might as well have been a new thread on Digital Spy by a commentard. No doubt the same commentard would be the first to complain if they phoned a bank, ISP or utility company who had no record of a previous call relevant to the current matter.

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Shock News: Kable needs to get a life

Of course they keep the number - how else are they going to see if you've reported the same thing recently.

Haven't you read the news in the last few days? (Anti-social crime and the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington comes to mind).

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The Fiona Pilkington case...

... is as a result of the police not doing what they were supposed to do in the first place. The call records, for once, are biting the police on the arse.

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FAIL

complainants == crims

It would not be the first time a force has mixed up a complainant, accused and the guilty and ruined someones life.

FWIU if you *ever* make a complaint to the police, it will appear (probably negatively) on your CRB check, so being a witness to an assault means you can kiss goodbye to your teaching career.

And the police wonder why people go blind when a crime is committed.

Do not even provide a witness statement without first getting legal advice!

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@ Jacqui

I'm sure, somewhere there is a (made up) statistic which proves that emergency number callers are more likely to commit a crime in the future. And if not, they are definitely some kind of troublemaker. Lock 'em up!

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Eh ???

"if you ever make a complaint...it will appear on your CRB check"

I'm not a lawyer, but that smells like bullshit to me. I've never needed a CRB check myself, but I've seen various friends' records (as they have to work in schools occasionally) and they don't include details like "in 1998 he dialled 999 to report..."

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WTF

"if you *ever* make a complaint to the police, it will appear (probably negatively) on your CRB check, so being a witness to an assault means you can kiss goodbye to your teaching career."

Did you read that in the Dail Heil? - oh it must be true then...

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CRB checks

Total nonsense. I've reported many crimes and I amd CRB-cleared.

It would be utterly bizarre if the police didn't keep permanent records of 999 calls.

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No, Martin...

... it is utterly bizarre that they do. There is no need for permanent records of any calls.

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Not that surprising really

I'm no fan of plod retaining needlessly retaining data but there is a definite need here.

Whether you're dialling 999 to report a genuine crime or to, say, ask for an emergency soapy tit-wank (as an old boss claimed someone had done from his house one Christmas) they do need those details.

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FAIL

What AC at 10:29 said....

If Plod stores this information, why don't they use it properly? If someone is repeatedly calling the police because of problems, why do the forces concerned seem to know nothing when it all subsequently goes wrong?

I'm very concerned about this idea that the information may be used against you, though.

"I'm surprised you're not being helpful, sir. Our records show you're normally great assistance to the police...." and so on.

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SO?

The sort of kooks who write articles like this give a bad name to people who have legitimate concerns about data being stored which shouldn't be stored.

Of course the emergency services keep a record of who calls them! What the hell is wrong with that? I'm surprised they've kept the data for as long as 12 years, but still, it's not that big a deal...

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It is a big deal

Seriously, it is. Proportionality is vital in maintaining trust.

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Happy

Me and my mate...

...used to ring the local constabulary and sing (in a sing-song voice) "We're high on cann-a-bis!" though we did use a phone box and didn't give our names.

(Actually, come to that, we once walked into the Police display tent at the local show and stood in front of the mock up of 'junkie in a public toilet' and smoked a joint of black, passing it back and forth, while half a dozen senior officers stood around talking to various dignitaries. I was quite sure we only got away with it because it would have been a PR disaster to draw attention to us. Also, I'll admit I was near shitting myself. But christ I'd love to do it again!)

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmmm

"I was near shitting myself."

Now that would have got their attention...

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