999 Police Inappropriate Call - Ice Cream With a Fly In
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Uploaded on Jun 19, 2009
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September 2008 to March 2009 saw over 2,300 hoax calls made to Hertfordshire Constabulary's call centre. A hoax call is where someone rings 999 for a deliberately malicious reason. While this is only three per cent of the total 92,400 calls made to 999 during that period, the Constabulary wants to push this number down further with help from the media and the public.
Hertfordshire Constabulary has released this recording - and others - as examples of calls made over the last six months to demonstrate the kind of calls we receive.
Superintendent Rob Henry, who manages the Contact Management Centre, said: Whether someone rings 999 maliciously or in error, it could prevent a genuine 999 caller from getting through or divert valuable police resources from a genuine emergency incident.
Ultimately, it could endanger someones life, and even result in a criminal conviction for the caller if the call is found to be malicious. We are strongly appealing for people to think before they call.
While the number of hoax and inappropriate calls to Hertfordshire Constabulary is fairly low, we want to make it even lower if not cut it out altogether and are asking for help from members of the public.
HERTFORDSHIRE Constabulary has released this sound bite of a hoax call received over Christmas 2010 to remind people of the dangers, particularly at this busy time of year.
The period, which includes New Year's Eve, is traditionally a very busy period for police. December 31st 2009 to January 1st 2010, from 7pm to 7am, saw calls to the service increase by more than double the average for a normal Thursday to Friday night. There were around 800 calls, compared to the usual 300 average (this is 999 and non-emergency calls).
Making a hoax call can stop important 999 calls from getting through or, worse still, divert valuable police resources away from handling genuine emergencies.
This call, made at 1.50am, was from a woman who wanted to check if it was still Christmas Day and then to wish the call-taker a Merry Christmas. At the time, the Constabulary had already received 45 other calls and it was during a busy period.
Jason Baxter, Assistant Manager at the Force Communications Room, said: "This kind of reckless behaviour could not only result in a criminal conviction for the foolish caller, it could also ultimately put other genuine callers' lives at risk while they wait for their call to be answered or for officers to arrive.
"Our message is making hoax calls like this is not funny or cool. In fact, the joke could be on you should we decide to release your call to the public."
The maximum penalty for hoax call offences is imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of £5,000. If it involves specifically wasting police time, this can be up to seven years.
All calls are recorded and can be used as evidence. Police have the power to disconnect mobiles from which hoax calls are made.
Using specialist software, police are also able to trace where calls are made from, and so locate any hoax callers and obtain their telephone numbers.
People should only dial 999 in an emergency. An emergency is when there is a risk of injury to someone or a risk of serious damage to property, you suspect a crime is in progress or there is a serious incident which needs immediate police attention.
If there is no emergency, people can call the non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222 or even contact their neighbourhood team (numbers are available on the Hertfordshire Constabulary website).
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