Police officers received an unusual request on Thursday after a man called them to report that the restroom he was using was out of toilet paper.
The Miaoli County police dispatch center received the call on Thursday from the man, who said he was inside a restroom at a gas station in Toufen Township (頭份).
“I am in the toilet stall, but there is no toilet paper here... I cannot leave and don’t know what to do,” the man was quoted as saying by the dispatcher.
He asked for assistance from the police.
The center transferred the call to the Toufen police precinct, where officers were able to find the gas station’s telephone number and informed people there of the man’s problem, asking workers there to give him some toilet paper.
According to a Miaoli police officer, police commonly receive calls from the public for help with issues like rescuing stranded cats and dogs and also people locked out of their homes because they had forgotten their keys.
“We have those kinds of calls, but a request for toilet paper delivery is a rare one,” an officer said.
“Some officers get annoyed because they have no choice but to provide help to people who call in. If we do not, some people go to the media to complain,” said the officer, who declined to be named.
Some members of the public said such calls were an “abuse of the police” and “wasted social resources.”
According to reports by the Chinese-language United Daily News, some individuals seemingly harbor the idea that police are “servants to the people” and took things to the extreme by requesting help over matters such as using a photocopier to finish homework, borrowing a telephone to call friends to go shopping and requesting a place to sleep while waiting for an early morning train, among others.
Officers said most of the time they acquiesced to small requests, such as a single photocopy, but have refused people who wanted to make copies of a stack of paper.
Some refusals have resulted in individuals swearing at officers for not providing them the service, police said.
“Our precinct is becoming like a convenience store, offering services at all hours,” one police officer said.