Realistically, I do not feel that I shall have a need to dial the strangely-titled ‘phone number for non-emergency services’. As a well-educated and responsible husband, I reckon I am up to speed in the diagnosis of any problems which may arise in my own life, as well as that of my wife. I have managed for over forty-four years, and can safely state that the only times I have contacted the Emergency Services was when their attendance was urgently needed. The only thing which I would alter is the opening sentence from the 1-1-1 caller, which should always be “Am I speaking to a medically-qualified professional, or a unqualified person seated before a computer with a set of screen-based questions?”
I did call the police when a drunken group was staggering about in the road in my small close in the small hours of the morning; as one of the males in the group was busy trying to strangle his ‘partner’. The only jarring point in that rather surreal interlude was when the Police operator asked if the male who was doing the strangling had any weaponry?
I had a vision of this man seated in front of a computer screen, hand on mouse, busy clicking boxes as he spoke:-
- Is there an assault in progress Yes….No………….Yes
- What is the nature of the assault (Operator must choose one only from the options)…………Boots on head, boots on body, fists on body, strangulation,….etc.
- Option selected…..Strangulation
- Sub-options available………….Methods of strangulation Manual (using hands) Manual (using weaponry)
- If Manual (using weaponry), operator must indicate how the weaponry has been selected and further, using only Sub-sub-options available on screen, ascertain if the weaponry is naturally-produced rope, or a plastic or polyethylene equivalent.
My answer to the Police operator’s enquiry was to state that the strangler was doing quite nicely by himself, and he didn’t seem to need any mechanical assistance at all!