Kent Police are warning against the public to rethink the use of 999 after half of calls in one shift were found to be inappropriate.

People rang the emergency line to report bad driving in Dartford, speeding in Dartford and even to try and get an update on a stolen car.

Police said that in one shift on June 23 44 per cent of calls were non emergency.

Chief Superintendent Nicola Faulconbridge, Head of Crime and Incident Response said: ‘We’re not doing this to shame or embarrass the people who’ve dialled 999. We just want people to think first whether their call really does constitute a real emergency.

"We are currently experiencing an extremely high number of calls to both 999 and 101 and at peak times it can take us longer than usual to answer 101 calls as emergency calls are prioritised.

"Our operators answer calls as quickly as possible, in strict priority order and I’d ask people to be patient and try again later if possible.

‘"e are looking at ways to reduce call congestion and developing ways that the public can report some matters online and make contact via the Kent Police Website."