Thousands call police hotline

More than 12,000 people a day on average call the police emergency hotline 100, requesting help with anything from assisting the elderly to rounding up bulls roaming the streets, the head of the service told Kathimerini yesterday. Brigadier Constantinos Kasapakis said that officers are dispatched as a result of one in roughly four of the calls received by the center. He said that much of the time police respond to non-criminal matters as people use the 100 number for a variety of reasons. According to the center’s records, a caller from Zephyri, western Athens, rang on Monday to inform authorities that a bull was on the loose in the area. Two patrol cars were sent to the area and one set of officers tried to contain the animal while another pair tried to find its owner. Kasapakis said that during the first six months of this year, police have responded to 636 non-emergency cases such as this. During the same period, calls to the hotline led to officers attending to some 2,800 more routine police matters, including potentially criminal issues such as house and bank alarms. Illegal parking is a particular problem, as almost 500 people have rung the center this year demanding the police’s assistance in getting drivers to move their cars. Kasapakis said that the officers who work at the call center, mostly women, require a lot of skill as they have to be able to quickly assess the seriousness of the calls and pass the information on to officers who have to rush to the scene. The officers also have to be patient, as a large numbers of the calls are from people who are simply looking for information, such as pharmacy opening times and traffic directions rather than needing any emergency assistance.