Delhi Police helpline number 100 is dialled not just to report crime but also for a range of innocuous issues like housewives seeking help in getting LPG cylinders, enquiries about address of popular fast food joints or children asking details about exam centres.
From attending enquiry calls, hoax calls to blank calls, Delhi Police has to put up with diverse range of callers on its helpline number on daily basis and only 25 per cent of the calls are such where police action is required and a PCR van has to be send to spot, a senior police official said.
45 per cent of all received calls in a day are blank calls, which consume over cumulative 60 working hours of Police Control Room every day, the official said. Police Control Room on an average receives 27,000 calls daily on its helpline number out of which around 12,000 (almost 45 per cent), are blank or dead calls.
There are 100 lines to attend calls on helpline number 100, 13 for the women's helpline number 1091 and 30 for enquiry calls.
Hard-pressed to provide prompt response in emergency situations, police feels blank calls are a big problem being faced by the department.
"Twenty seconds are wasted in attending to one blank call on an average. We have been trying to find a solution to this problem. At times, we block such callers' numbers, but due to easy availability of SIM cards, the troublemakers call from new numbers," the official said.
"However, we are trying to install software to delay such calls. If such dead calls are relegated to the back, our service can be far more effective. Such calls also irritate the police staff and dampen their spirits," he said.
Besides, police also receive 100-125 abusive calls every day. These callers are generally drunk or looking for some fun, police said.
There is a team of 600 staff to run the PCR call system 24X7. They are divided into various teams, including those who receive calls and others who relay the message to PCR teams concerned.
Delhi Police has 810 PCR vans at their disposal. In each PCR van, there are three police staff - a driver, a gunman and a police official.
Between a fortnight from August 16 and August 31, the police control room received 4.29 lakh calls, out of which 1.14 lakh were "actionable" calls where PCR vans were sent to the spot, the official said.
A majority of the calls, around 45,711, were related to fights, which ranged from minor scuffles between two persons to big fights involving groups, the official said. "In most cases, PCR staff remained in the dark about the ground situation and only after reaching there, they could fathom the gravity of the case. Subsequently, they informed the local police station.
Sometimes, they get into dangerous situations as they are the ones to be attacked by the warring parties," the official said.
Police received 13,601 calls to report fire incidents, 9,076 for accidents and 4,700 to report unclaimed objects. A large number of calls were made during the fortnight to report traffic jams (7800 calls) and road rage case (260 calls) as well.
Police also received 4,000 calls reporting theft and 1,071 incidents of snatching. The crime against women calls were related to molestation (706) and rape (49). Besides "actionable" calls, police also received 57,887 enquiry calls. The police official said the pattern of calls remains similar for almost every fortnight.