Get us bananas, pay our bills - callers dial 100 with strange requests
BENGALURU: Seconds after receiving a call on the number, a young agent was stunned by the caller's unusual request: Sir, we are running out of bananas. Can you send your Hoysala patrol squad to bring us a few?
When the agent regained his composure and tried to go home, noting that 100 should be dialed only in emergencies, the caller replied, “We have a habit of eating bananas after dinner. We are exhausted and cannot go out for him. Under pressure since the related shutdown was announced, it rejected the request.
This is not an isolated incident. Police say they have been receiving such calls on a daily basis. They had previously announced that 250 Hoysalas would be converted to emergency vehicles that can be accessed by people in distress (for example, to get to the nearest hospital).
At a time when the resources of the police department are running out, it is absolutely irresponsible for the public to expect the police to work as errands. Such calls will lead to a diversion of real emergency resources, as the police have few ways to distinguish a genuine request from an outright lie based on a phone call. And to the human being, it is very possible that the spirits can explode and that some of these ridiculous requests can provoke something unpleasant. It is the responsibility of citizens to be as self-sufficient as possible.
However, some callers dial 100 for imprecise reasons such as wanting to visit their relative's house or the nearby grocery store. On Tuesday, Ganesh, a police officer with the Bagalgunte police, responded to a distress call from Kanthamma, 70, a Bagalgunte resident, who complained of a severe headache. It was only when the police officers arrived at his home that they learned the real reason for the call: he wanted to visit his relative in Malleswaram.
Another police officer, who has been tasked with dispatching patrol vehicles, said: I received a call from a man who wanted us to visit a hospital and pay his bill because he had no money. Some even dial 100 seeking help from the police to obtain a mobile charger or recharge their prepaid numbers.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Command Center) Isha Pant told TOI: “We have been persuading people to contact us only if there is an emergency. But there is also an increase in public consultation calls seeking details on Covid-19. We put you in touch with available resources.
However, the patrol police have a different story to share. “Some people dial 100 and ask us to take them to the hospital and insist that we wait until they receive treatment. Can we wait two or three hours just to return a patient to his place? An agent asked himself.
Narrating another incident, a police officer said: “A couple who had been in a hospital in a two-wheeled vehicle had a fight over a small problem. The woman called the control room to leave her at home and not have to depend on her husband to do so. We had to convince the couple to come home.