999: What's Your Emergency?

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2012 is the 75th anniversary of the 999 system in the UK, and it's a system creaking under the weight of the British public's emergencies. 999: What's Your Emergency? is a unique series, filmed over an intensive 10 week period with all the emergency services in Blackpool: police , fire and ambulance. But this is unlike any other emergency based series. These films capture the entire process from the moment a call is taken at control to the deployment of the services on the ground. With rig technology inside the emergency vehicles to multiple crews on the ground 24/7, 999: What's Your Emergency? captures in a unique way the issues that face Britain today - from the emergence of new drugs, the despair of domestic violence, the way we parent our children and those, from whatever background, who slip through society's safety net. With unique access to the services and the control centres that deploy them, this is the job seen through the eyes of those at the emergency front line. Raw and un-mediated, compassionate, yet tough minded. This is Britain in extremis.

Episode Description

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Episode 1

Blackpool's emergency services are tackling the fallout from the dizzying array of 'party drugs' that are on the rise in towns across the UK. Mephadrone - aka 'MCAT' and 'Meow Meow', and known as 'Bubble' in Blackpool - is available on many street corners. You can get a hit for the price of a pint of beer, but it can have highly unpredictable effects. PC Kris Beasley, one of Blackpool's longest-serving beat cops, has seen it all, but he - alongside his police, ambulance and fire colleagues - is increasingly facing the fallout from punters who are playing a chemical lottery to get high. Meanwhile the emergency services cope with a never-ending stream of calls, from a man exposing his penis at a railway station, to violent patients and rowdy suspects, including a pair of naked squaddies whose R&R has got out of hand.

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Episode 2

This episode focuses on kids, who are taking up more and more of the emergency services' time, whether it's prank calls, bad behaviour or poor parenting. PC Chris Hardy responds to a call from a terrified family who've had a brick thrown through their window and a gang of lads outside their house. The incident appears to have started when one boy called another 'fat' and the police take a 13-year-old into custody. When a resident finds a three-year-old boy walking barefoot and alone down a back street, PC Mark Glass is dispatched to question the boy, find out where he lives and where his parents are. PC Mike Ellis is sent to track down 12-year-old twin girls who've disappeared on the promenade after their father went drinking. And a six-month-old baby is injured when his mother leaves him in the care of two teenagers while she goes out on the town. Meanwhile police and ambulance are sent to help Andrea, a regular caller to 999 who has a drink problem and is looked after by her teenage daughter, who also acts as a parent to her younger brother. And police are called out after tourists spot a woman performing sexual acts on teenage boys under the pier on the beach, just yards from families on holiday.

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Episode 3

This programme focuses on relationships. When things go wrong, more of us than ever are dialling 999, asking the emergency services to pick up the pieces and protect us from those we used to trust. An increasing number of 999 calls involve relationship disputes, but they're never easy to resolve. The emergency operators are inundated with petty, non-emergency calls, ranging from people falling out over what they're watching on telly, to others arguing about computer games and who gets to keep the kitten when they split up. But domestic arguments often erupt into violence - last year cases of domestic violence increased by an astonishing 35% within a single year. Cases include a man accused of punching his girlfriend outside a pub, while another man is left with a serious wound after being stabbed in the stomach with a broken bottle. Meanwhile PC Claire van Deurs Goss meets a heavily pregnant woman who claims to have been assaulted by her partner, but refuses to press charges. Another woman has been head-butted by her ex-boyfriend. For the emergency staff, it's heart-breaking that children are often caught up in their parents' fights, with some as young as six calling 999 for help. Paramedics Paul Atherton and Mandy Jenkinson are a couple as well as being life-saving colleagues. Paul's been popping the question for years, but will Mandy finally give in and say yes?

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Episode 4

There is one night when everyone's up for a party: payday. Whether you work a 50-hour week or depend on state benefits, the day that money hits bank accounts across the UK signals the beginning of drink-fuelled celebrations, a time to forget your troubles and blow off some steam. For the call operators at Blackpool's emergency control centres hearing about our payday excesses is a weekly occurrence and money plays a part in many 999 calls, from the serious burglaries to the callers reporting a lack of credit on their mobile phone.

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Episode 5

This episode focuses on an issue that is keeping the emergency services busier than ever: people's state of mind. A quarter of the UK population will suffer from mental health problems at some time in their lives. And with the number of psychiatric beds falling by 80% in a generation, inevitably the emergency services are dealing with more people with serious mental health problems.

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Episode 6

This programme focuses on how women in our society are changing; whether it's putting themselves in harm's way as members of the emergency services, or the increasing number of women the 999 system is having to deal with. Female emergency service workers reveal their motivations for doing the work that they do and the challenges they face on a daily basis, while the programme features young women for whom drink, violence and law-breaking have become commonplace and a perverse source of pride.

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Episode 7

Alcohol is fueling problems across the UK. Britain likes to drink and Blackpool is a magnet for stag and hen parties, with around 2000 clubs and bars. 'It's a mixture between a zoo and Jeremy Kyle's waiting room,' says Sergeant Dunne. 'We've practically turned into a nation of just drunkards really, haven't we?'.

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Episode 8

An increasing number of people are calling 999 with non-emergencies and hoax calls that are costing the already stretched emergency services millions and potentially diverting crews from genuine emergencies. This episode focuses on life savers and time wasters, featuring calls to the emergency services about a range of non-emergencies, from culinary injuries to broken light bulbs, as bizarre as they are diverse. But even more serious are the handful of people who abuse the emergency system by making hoax calls in the knowledge that they are potentially diverting an ambulance or fire engine from attending a serious injury or life-threatening situation.

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Episode 9

This episode follows how Blackpool's emergency services deal with incidents involving people from outside the town. With 13 million visitors each year, Blackpool is Britain's most popular seaside resort. While the older generation come to re-live the town's heyday, younger visitors - particularly those on alcohol-fuelled stag, hen and birthday weekends - are more likely to trouble the emergency services.

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Episode 10

This episode asks the police, ambulance and fire staff what they really think about the jobs they do. With more and more social problems falling to them, the emergency workers frequently question how much of their work is made up of actual emergencies. But time and again they reveal how proud they are to be protecting us from each other and from ourselves.
Episode Description

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Episode 1

The first film in the series explores the struggles of becoming an adult in modern Britain. Cases include a young man in Southend who's been stabbed multiple times, an 18-year-old who got very drunk on his first night out in central London, and a 19-year-old student in Nottingham who's taken an overdose of anti-depressants and drunk hair bleach.

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Episode 2

In the UK, 1.6 million people are dependent on alcohol, and alcohol misuse directly costs the NHS £3.5bn a year, with admissions to hospital due to drinking doubling in ten years. Up to a fifth of ambulance call-outs are alcohol-related, but one paramedic reports that some weekends three-quarters of his patients are affected by booze. Sometimes ambulances are called simply because the patient is too drunk to remember where they live or want a taxi ride home. And middle aged, middle class professionals are at as much risk of ending up in an ambulance thanks to drink as the young and irresponsible or long-term alcoholics. Cases include a middle-aged executive who's drunk so much he's become incontinent, covering himself, the paramedics and ambulance in urine and faeces; a woman who's passed out after a day at the races; a 28-year-old who's lost everything through drinking; and a woman having a psychotic episode brought on by chronic and long-term alcohol abuse.

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Episode 3

This episode follows paramedics as they do their best to help patients with mental health problems. With one in four of us facing such issues at some point in our lives, it's become the job of the emergency services to pick up the pieces, often facing complex and difficult situations for which they have little training. Paramedic Maria Stanley is called to a multi-storey car park where she is first on the scene and has to talk a suicidal man away from the edge, while Kirsten Harper and Amy Siddall race to help a man who's having suicidal thoughts and whose daughter can't cope. Another patient has heard imaginary voices most of his life and is threatening suicide. He's at breaking point, but says that mental health services said he's 'not crazy enough' to get treatment. Meanwhile, with self-harming becoming one of the most prevalent mental health issues, Selina Conway is called out to help a man who's been cutting his arm. And in London, crews are called to help when a failed suicide bid leaves a middle-aged man trapped under an underground train.

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Episode 4

This episode focuses on call-outs to patients fighting for life, and the medical, ethical and emotional challenges their care creates, not just for the paramedics, but also for the friends and family who may be left behind.

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Episode 5

This episode focuses on the older generation, who now account for two thirds of ambulance calls. With 11 million people in Britain over the age of 65, the NHS is feeling a greater strain than ever before.

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Episode 6

This episode focuses on babies - from births to over-protective parents and from very poorly children to those facing neglect and abuse
Episode Description

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Episode 1

The work of police and paramedics in Cheshire, following incidents from the moment a 999 call is made to the arrival of the frontline police and paramedics. In this episode, a 20-year-old girl has returned home after a night out, collapsed in front of her parents and stopped breathing, while one man calls the emergency services to say that a naked stranger his mother met at a punk gig has fallen down their stairs

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Episode 2

This edition shows the devastating effects that so-called legal highs can have on users in one community and the huge strain their use is putting on already stretched emergency services. In Warrington, PC Karl Dickin is one of eight officers sent to detain a man in his 20s who's taken a cocktail of illegal and legal drugs and is acting erratically, while a regular user is found coughing up blood at a bus stop

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Episode 3

Cheshire's emergency services are dealing with more than 2500 neighbour-related incidents a year. In Crewe, PCs Billy Elliot and Greg Greaves race to a succession of disputes, including a man who claims someone else has moved into his flat.

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Episode 4

Exploring the complex issues surrounding the care of people with mental health problems in the UK and the increasing role that police and ambulance staff now have to play in supporting those who are affected.

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Episode 5

The documentary focuses on the small but significant minority of people who are regular users of the emergency services. PC Billy Elliott visits a familiar address following complaints from neighbours about another disturbance - and one of the men ends up spending 24 hours in police custody, even requesting his favourite cell. DC Andy Knapman interviews a persistent shoplifter who has been arrested more than 50 times, while paramedics and police pay another visit to 50-year-old alcoholic Michaela

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Episode 6

PC Greg Greaves calls for back-up in Crewe after two suspects shout claims of abuse and racism at him, and in Warrington, paramedic Becki arrives at the home of Marika, a Latvian woman who has been mugged in the street and left with a black eye. Meanwhile, PC Niaz Waddington and his colleagues keep a close eye on Saturday night revelers as the number of racially aggravated incidents dealt with by Cheshire Police on a typical weekend has doubled in the past five years

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Episode 7

A look at how both the haves and the have-nots are being affected by crime. In Crewe, PC Matt Ambrose is called to the home of an elderly woman who has had nearly £10,000 of her life savings stolen from her bank account.

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Episode 8

With alcohol-related incidents in the UK costing the emergency services nearly £3 billion a year, this episode features people who risk ruining their own - and other people's - lives for the sake of a night out.

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Episode 9

Exploring the trails and tribulations of coming of age in 2016, and the challenges the emergency services face in dealing with people in the legal and social hinterland between childhood and adulthood.

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Episode 10

PCs Matt Ambrose and Mike Lowe are dispatched to a house in Crewe following reports of a man threatening his ex-partner with a gun. It's down to the PCs to find and lock the male up for the night, despite him resisting arrest.

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Episode 11

In Nantwich, PC Vicky Howell and PC Greg Greaves pull over a 31-year-old woman suspected of driving under the influence despite being only a couple of streets away from home. After blowing over double the legal limit, she is taken into custody.

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Episode 12

PCs Bryony Hancock and Charlotte Wilson are called to a Saturday night lovers' tiff in Crewe before heading to help a woman who's been assaulted in her home by her partner.

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Episode 13

In Warrington paramedics arrive at the home of a man having a suspected cardiac arrest. With CPR already in action and a defibrillator at close hand he is given the best possible chance of survival.

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Episode 14

This episode meets Cheshire's police custody staff, who deal with everyone from people accused of terrible crimes to others who see the cells as a welcome break from other challenges
Episode Description

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Episode 1

The mother of nine year old Taleah calls 999 to report that her daughter has been racially abused by two 11 year olds while out playing. It's the first time that Taleah has ever heard the N-word.

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Episode 2

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Episode 3

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Episode 4