Never be frightened to dial 999 in a genuine emergency.
Calls to 999 are free so you can make a call on payphone or
mobile without money or credit, but be sure you’re making the call
for the right reason.
Many of the 999 calls taken by Essex Police aren’t emergencies
and stop our staff dealing with people who genuinely need help
We deal with 25,000 999 calls a month so it’s vital to reserve
our resources for real emergencies.
What's an emergency?
An emergency is a situation where there is a crime or
serious incident in progress, a serious risk of injury or a risk of
serious damage to property.
- "There's a burglar in my house."
- "There is an accident outside and I think someone is
- "The house across the road is on fire."
- "My car was stolen over night."
- "I was burgled last week."
- "I want to report my property stolen so I can have a crime
reference number for the insurance"
We also receive 999 calls made by accident when a mobile phone
keypad gets knocked in a handbag or pocket. Most phones allow
emergency calls to be made even when the keypad is locked so please
be extra careful and think about how you carry your mobile
Callers who use mobile phones to dial 999 should be aware that,
due to the different base stations used by phone companies, the
call may be answered by a police operator in another part of the
Please let the operator know where you are calling from as soon
as you can to make sure your call is dealt with by the appropriate