Unnecessary lockdown dobbers ‘wasting police resources’

Police in the ACT have called out "needless" reports from members of the Canberra public who are dobbing in supposed COVID-19 lockdown breachers, clogging emergency call centre lines.

Superintendent of Operations Rebecca Goddard said people needed to consider if their call to police was actually required, noting that waiting times for their non-emergency 131 444 phone line had increased significantly as a result of the recent influx of calls.

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"We understand that people are concerned about everyone doing the right thing during the lockdown but calling us to report two children not wearing masks while jumping on a trampoline in their backyard is a serious waste of our resources," Ms Goddard said.

"We have also had calls about two people getting out of a car in a retail carpark and calls from people seeking advice about exemptions or other health-related questions."

Ms Goddard said these calls were causing delays on important information related to serious crimes like domestic violence offences, car thefts, burglaries and missing persons intel getting through.

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In one example, Ms Goddard said someone phoning in to report information on a missing person had to wait over 30 minutes before they got through to an operator because lines were that congested.

"I am asking anyone who is about to call police to ask themselves – is this an immediate police matter? If not, there are other ways to provide your information or to get information," she said.

Under current restrictions, Canberrans must stay at home and can only leave for essential reasons. The restrictions will remain in place until at least September 2, 2021.

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