And why do we need these silly pick lists for something like this anyway? It's far quicker to just type "09/05" than to select from two pop-up lists. The country lists are quite annoying too, especially when you have to scroll all the way down nearly to the bottom to find "United Kingdom." One mis-movement as you select, and suddenly they think you live in the United Arab Emirates!
OK, make yourself comfortable....
We have a local police station in Stalham, about 4 miles from here. It's very small, and one of those places which opens every third Friday when it's a full moon, or something like that!
The nearest main station is North Walsham, about 10 miles from here, and you used to be able to call them about any non-emergency matter, but not anymore. The listed non-emergency police number is still a North Walsham number, but the call is routed to their new centralized system way over on the other side of the county. Many of the people there simply do not have knowledge of the local villages in this part of Norfolk.
Example: Some months ago I came upon a horse running loose on one the country roads at Ingham and tried to call the police to see if they could track down the owner of the runaway to get it to safety. The call-center staff actually had no idea where the place was, and said they couldn't get hold of anyone out this way. Several calls back and an hour later they'd still been no help at all, and were actually quite annoyed that we'd called them back!
By this time the horse had decided to graze in a field belonging to a nearby house and was in no immediate danger, so I decided to drive to Stalham police station in the off-chance it was actually open. Luckily, it was, and the cop on duty there happened to be the local "bobby" that I know.
I described the horse and immediately he recognized where it belonged (he lives in Ingham himself). Off he went in the patrol car to check it out and find the owner, problem solved -- No thanks to the call-center who were probably still trying to work out where we were.....
By the way, our local cop gave us a direct-dial line into the local station and said to use it in future for any local problem like that.
I know of someone else who did
use this unpublished number to reach the station directly one time. The officer on duty wasn't our friendly local cop, demanded to know how she had got the number, and told her never to use it again because now he had to fill in a load of paperwork!
P.S. What might be more scary is that this new call center is also where 999 (emergency) calls are now routed within the county.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-19-2003).]