Record breaking calls from from people in life-or-death situations have resulted in longer wait times for non-emergency ones.

E-Comm, the ‘emergency communications centre responsible for answering 99% of B.C.’s 9-1-1 calls’, says that 36% of police non-emergency calls do not need to be made to the police, so they request callers ‘make the right call.’

“For many of the calls we receive on non-emergency numbers, a police call taker is not the right person to action the caller’s concern. Knowing when to call 9-1-1, when to call the non-emergency line to report a non-urgent police matter or when to call elsewhere doesn’t just free up these critical resources – it also means callers can get the help they need faster,” explains Oliver Grüter-Andrew, President and CEO of E-Comm.

E-Comm says that redirecting calls to the appropriate resources is ‘a huge drain on police dispatch services and takes up valuable call taker time.’

“Heading into the busier summer months, we always expected to see increased call volumes,” says Grüter-Andrew. “But the current strain on emergency services, including 9-1-1, is extraordinary. This record-breaking demand has led to increased wait times on police non-emergency lines, as E-Comm call takers must prioritize answering life or death emergencies coming through on 9-1-1.”

E-Comm requests callers look at other non-emergency services that may fit their inquiry, such as;

  • The local police agency’s website, where information about fingerprinting services, criminal record checks, or requests for copies of police reports can be made.
  • The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, where one can report frauds or scams. Available via 1-888-495-8501 or their website.
  • ICBC, where one can report a motor vehicle incident where there are no injuries or imminent threat to public safety and all vehicles are drivable. Available via 1-800-910-4222 or their website. 
  • The BC Residential Tenancy Branch, which deals with tenancy laws and landlord/tenant disputes. Available via 1-800-665-8779 or their website.

Further information about alternative resources can be found here.