Leeds ‘nuisance’ 999 calls in 1947

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More ‘999’ shenanigans this week as we cast our eyes back over how the papers dealt with the introduction of the nation’s emergency telephone service, which, in December 1947, was still in its infancy.

On December 5 of that year, the Chief Constable of Leeds, J W Barnett, told members of Leeds Rotary Club that since its introduction about nine weeks earlier, they had received about 1,200 999 calls and as a result, they had made a total of 48 arrests. However, there was a fly in the ointment, because even though the service had only just been launched, some people abused it (whether knowingly or not).

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One such case involved a young lad named Michael Walsh, 11, of Belle Vue Place, who dialled 999 to inform the police that his friend was being detained in a house.

“We sent a car and found that it was quite true that a boy was being detained - by his own parents.”

It turned out the caller was annoyed that his friend could not come out to play. At that time, the strength of Leeds Police force stood at 717 but was shortly to be raised to 820.

In other news, more than 120 residents of Street Lane, Roundhay, signed a petition against plans for a hotel in the area. Builder Neville Shute applied for the removal of restrictive covenants and said it was only a matter of time before new licensed premises would be built in the area.

Residents argued, however, they believed it was a mainly a ‘residential area’.

The matter was to be decided by a public inquiry on December 16 in Hull.

And finally, the River Ure was close to breaking its banks near Leyburn. The AA issued a statement saying it was on the lookout for flooded roads and urged motorists to use caution, as there was also snow and ice about.