Thames Valley Police have shared a recording of a 999 call where a man asks police to remove a ‘putrid’ chicken after Tesco staff refused to help.
The recording was released as part of its #ThinkBeforeYouDial campaign, which asks people not to use emergency numbers for non-crime related issues.
In the two-minute call, the man complains that he was sold a rotting chicken and that the supermarket had not come out to his house to replace it.
However, members of the public have criticised the police for sharing this video, claiming that ‘shaming’ an elderly man is not the best way to deal with the situation.
The caller said: “This is an odd thing to put to you, but I bought a chicken yesterday from Tesco.
“I put it straight in the fridge without opening the bag.
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“I opened it and the smell from it is absolutely disgusting. It’s putrid.
“I don’t know what to do with it, can you advise me?”
In the call the operator repeatedly explained that the issue needed to be handled directly with the supermarket.
“There is nothing the police are going to be able to do with it, I’m afraid. This is a civil matter between you and Tesco”, they said.
The call continues for two minutes and the man even asks for a car to be sent if he paid the petrol cost.
The operator responds: “No, unfortunately, we are dealing with crimes at the moment. It’s not under our remit for us to come and collect a rotting chicken.”
Facebook users responded to the clip expressing that the man “could have dementia” and that the police were wrong to share this video.
One commented: “ He’s obviously a confused old man, maybe suffering from dementia.”
Another responded: “The call should have been handled differently and ended quicker if that’s your actual point. Shaming the person here is not ethical.”
A third said: “No it’s not a 999 worthy call and he sounds quite aware of that but he’s in need. Not expecting you to help but certainly don’t think you should be putting it up on social media. And maybe you should be having a word with your comms department about appropriate content.”