Close call Yorkshire Police reveal how ‘pizza’ phone call turned out to be plea for help
"We received a 999 call – but when it was answered, the woman on the line said she would like to order a pizza"
Yorkshire Police have shared how a phone call to "order pizza" turned out to be a plea for help.
Taking to social media, they detailed how a woman called 999 from a bus and asked to order a pizza.
The call, which was a plea for help from the young woman who was in imminent danger from the man she was with, ended in her rescue.
“We received a 999 call – but when it was answered, the woman on the line said she would like to order a pizza,” they said, sharing the story.
“Our call handler immediately asked the woman if she was in trouble, to which she confirmed ‘yes’.”
“With the woman only able to answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to questions, we established she was on a bus in North Yorkshire, and was at risk of harm from a man who was with her.”
“While keeping the phone line open, the call handler was also able to text her for more information.”
Officers managed to locate the bus using an online tracker, and stop it in York.
A 40-year-old man from Leeds was arrested in connection with the incident.
He was subsequently released with no further action, however, the woman has been provided with safeguarding and support.
Inspector Dan Spence, Force Incident Manager in North Yorkshire Police’s Control Room, said: “This was really good work by everyone involved, allowing us to take immediate action to safeguard a vulnerable woman. I’m aware of people using the ‘pizza ordering’ technique abroad to contact the police, but I cannot recall a similar call in North Yorkshire.
UK police say that all 999 calls are directed to call centres and answered by BT operators.
When you call 999 the operator will then ask which service you need, but if no service is requested but anything suspicious is heard throughout the process, the operator will connect you to a police call handler.
Advising people who may find themselves in a similar situation they said: “It is always best to speak to the operator if you can, even by whispering. You may also be asked to cough or tap the keys on your phone in response to questions.”
“The police call handler will attempt to communicate with you by asking simple yes or no questions.”
“If you are not able to speak, listen carefully to the questions and instructions from the call handler so we can assess your call and arrange help if needed.”
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