Hoax calls are no joke this Christmas, says Cleveland Police

Darlington and Stockton Times: A boy called 999 after saying he had found a fly in his icecream and then hung up A boy called 999 after saying he had found a fly in his icecream and then hung up

A WOMAN phoned 999 to ask for a lift home from a party and a boy called the police for help after finding a fly in his icecream, officers have revealed.

Cleveland Police is highlighting how the emergency services have been misused to deter people from making hoax calls over Christmas and New Year.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Glenn Gudgeon, Head of Operations Command at Cleveland Police, warned that action would be taken against those who make malicious calls.

“Inappropriate calls to the police service prevent and delay genuine emergency calls from getting through to the operators in our control room, potentially risking the lives of those who need urgent assistance,” he said.

Recent irrelevant 999 cases include a woman who asked for a lift home after a party in Middlesbrough as she had no credit on her phone to ring for a taxi and a boy who said he’d discovered a fly in his ice cream and then hung up.

Mr Gudgeon said the emergency services should only be called where there is a risk of injury or serious damage to property, it is suspected that a crime is in progress or a serious incident is happening which needs immediate police attention.

The non-emergency 101 number for police is intended for instances when there is no immediate danger to life, the crime is not in progress, the offender is not nearby or for general enquiries.

“Every year lives are potentially put at risk by hoax callers and those people who are not in an emergency situation dialling 999 and tying up phone lines and operators, meaning that those in a genuine emergency situation may not reach the emergency services as quickly,” he said.

“Some of our inappropriate calls come from children who may not be fully aware that they shouldn’t be ringing 999. We would ask parents to make sure that their children are fully aware of the consequences of ringing an emergency line when there is no emergency.

“All we would ask of anyone is that they think thoroughly about whether it is appropriate before they pick up the phone and dial 999. Those that make malicious or hoax calls have been warned, you will be caught and you will be dealt with robustly."


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