Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Hoax calls are “substantial drain” on police resources

13:36 14 November 2012

Hoax calls are costing Suffolk police a "significant amount"

Hoax calls are costing Suffolk police a "significant amount"

Archant © 2009

THOUSANDS of hoax 999 calls are causing a “substantial drain” on Suffolk police resources and diverting emergency services from where they are needed most, it can be revealed.

shares

New figures show the constabulary has received a total of 7,618 emergency calls over nearly five years at what police said was a “significant cost” to the county’s taxpayers.

Transcripts of calls made during 2011 and part of 2012, released to the East Anglian Daily Times under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that although some calls by people with mental health problems or delusion disorders, scores more are made as jokes or after drinking.

Calls have included everything from an undetected bomb hoax and unfounded assualt claims to drunken demands for taxis and even a woman worried about her noisy cat,

Chief Superintendent David Skevington, County Police Commander in Suffolk, said: “Hoax calls are a severe misuse of the system and put people who are in need of urgent assistance from the emergency services at risk. They tie up 999 lines and divert the emergency services away from people who may be in life-threatening situations.”

He added: “They cause a substantial drain on the resources of the emergency services, and cost a significant amount of money, through the time taken to answer the call, and any emergency services that are deployed.”

The force said it was impossible to put an exact figure on the cost of calls, due to the different response required for each incident.

Ch Supt Skevington said: “The way in which hoax calls are dealt with therefore differs greatly depending on the individual circumstances of the caller.

“If the caller is suffering with issues that affect their mental health, work is carried out with their families and partner agencies to provide support where necessary.”

But he added: “Deliberate hoax calls are taken very seriously and the Constabulary will seek to charge individuals for relevant offences where necessary. Where individuals are found guilty of offences relating to hoax calling, and successfully prosecuted, they may face heavy fines, imprisonment and a criminal record.”

From 2008 to September this year there have been 24 reported crimes in relation to undetected bomb hoaxes, malicious communications and use of public communications network to send indecent/obscene/threatening/false messages.

Fourteen of the calls resulted in further action, from court summons to community resolutions.

Over the same period, 67 of the calls were treated as ‘Wasting Police time’ offences.

The figures show that during that same period the highest number of hoax calls was in 2009, when there was 2091 calls - the equivalent to nearly six a day.

A police spokesman said: “999 should be used to report a crime that is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger. To report any other crimes that are not an emergency, 101 should be used.”

Related articles

shares

0 comments

Therese Coffey is declared the MP for Suffolk Coastal In the parliamentary elections at Martlesham.

Speaker John Bercow lost his temper with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and health secretary Jeremy Hunt today for using their mobile phones on the front bench.

Lexden Road - stock photo

A man who lost his temper and pushed a 67-year-old stranger into the path of a car on a busy road, resulting in him being rushed to hospital with multiple fractures, has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him straight to prison.

John McGreal has been appointed as Colchester United's First Team Coach.
L-R Tony Hulme,Robbie Cowling,John McGreal.

Carl Marston spoke to new Colchester United boss John McGreal, as well as chairman Robbie Cowling, following this afternoon’s announcement.

Theres not long left to sign up to be part of Suffolks biggest neon party on Saturday, May 7.
.
L-R Sam Catling,Tracy New, Pauline Donkin, Brian Taylor, Jack Nicholl, Joanne Rodger, Nikki Brown, Catherine Sheppard.

There are just days left to sign up to be part of Suffolk’s biggest neon party this weekend.

Police are investigating the accident

A young boy has been taken to hospital after he was clipped by a car in Bildeston, near Stowmarket, this afternoon.

An artist's impression of the proposed new look for Ipswich Cornhill

Here we bring you four letters sent by our readers this week

Paul Smith (L to R) Wendy Abbott, Jacqui Newby, Lynda Austin, Jan Rusted, Tessa Harding and Chris Osborne celebrate the 10th anniversary of the community run Metfield Stores.

The front of its shop bears the slogan “run by the community for the community”.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24