A police force has said 80% of all 999 calls it receives do not require an emergency response.
Thames Valley Police (TVP) said about 255,000 "inappropriate calls" were made to the force each year.
They included calls from people growing tired of waiting on 101, and issues that were "handled by other agencies".
TVP released a video to demonstrate the problem by showing a man on hold during a burglary because of other non-emergency callers on the line.
Gavin MacMillan, senior delivery manager for TVP's contact centres, said a minority of people viewed dialling 999 as a way of "jumping the queue".
TVP started a service for all crimes and road traffic collisions to be reported online in the summer.
But its "cutting edge" computer system to be used to deploy police officers to emergencies is yet to be introduced having been delayed by more than a year and going £12m over budget.