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June 6, 2014

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Police help sought to deliver toilet paper

A MAN who called police in Songjiang District and asked them to bring toilet paper for him has sparked an online debate over the role of police and public.

The police officer wrote on his microblog on Monday that he helped a caller who had diarrhea but did not carry tissues with him. But netizens blamed the caller for “casually calling up police.”

Local police said about 40 to 50 percent of their daily calls are related to cases, while the rest are calls seeking consultations and help.

All these calls are first connected to a call center and later dispatched to police branches nearest to the scene. Generally, officers can’t refuse when they receive the orders and should set off to the place immediately.

“Police have their own work,” a resident surnamed Wang said. “They are not your domestic helpers to turn to when you run out of your baby’s nappies.”

A woman surnamed Li agreed with Wang’s view.

“If all police officers are sent to help those who need tissues, who will tackle cases and maintain public order?” she asked.

But some of the netizens don’t mind police assistance on trivial matters. A man surnamed Sun said when people are in awkward situation, they will always consider seeking police help first. “Although it might be a waste of police resources, some times we really don’t know whom to turn to.”

Gu Jun, a sociology professor at Shanghai University, said residents should call police only for specific reasons.

Endless trivial calls

A toddler once called up police and complained that there was no cartoon program on the TV. The police operator asked her to talk to her mother.

A drunk man called police and kept talking what seemed gibberish and hard to understand to the operator. The operator played back the recordings to warn him but he continued to mumble on the phone.

A resident asked a policeman to help him repair his Internet Protocol Television. He threatened to complain when the police officer explained that it was not his job. Few others called police after media reports claimed that police could not be reached from smuggled phones.


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