Half of all 999 calls to the police last month were not emergencies.
In October, 51 per cent of 999 calls received by Northamptonshire Police did not require an emergency response by the force.
Chief Insp Fay Tennet, from the Force Control Room, said: “I am asking people to stop and think before they call the police – is it a life or death emergency, or is it a crime taking place now?
“If the answer is no, then please call 101, our non-emergency number.
“Calling 999 when it’s not a life of death situation, or when a crime is not in progress, could mean our resources are diverted away from a genuine emergency call.
“Members of the public can call 101 to report a crime that has already taken place as well as other incidents or concerns that are not emergencies.
“Calling 999 should not be used as a way of by-passing 101.”
Members of the public can also call 101 to speak to their local safer community team or any other officer or member of staff, to provide information to the police or to make a general inquiry.
Northamptonshire Police received almost 650,000 calls from the public in the past financial year, of which 234,120 were to 101 and 100,935 to 999.
A further 312,433 calls were made to 03000 111 222 – the number for people calling from outside of Northamptonshire.
The emergency 999 number should only be used when:
A crime is happening now
Someone suspected of a crime is nearby
Someone is injured
Someone is being threatened or a life is at risk
There is a traffic incident involving personal injury or danger.
Calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles costs 15p per call, whatever the time of day or length of the call.
For anyone with hearing difficulties or a speech impairment, a text phone is available on 18001 101.