999 Hoax calls fall

HOAX calls to Hertfordshire Constabulary have dropped a quarter since 2009, a fall the force attribute to a police campaign.

Police figures show that Herts police received 3,827 hoax calls in 2009 and the data for 2010 shows the force received 2,910 calls, a drop of 917.

The scheme, launched in 2009, uses the slogan ‘Only a fool would make a hoax 999 call’ and makes use of video sharing website YouTube to post recordings of fraudulent emergency calls.

Jason Baxter, assistant manager at Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Force Communication Room, said: “I am thrilled to see this drop in hoax calls, which means that we can divert more resources to genuine emergencies and more call-takers are free to assist genuine callers.

“This decrease is testament to the fact that our campaign is obviously hitting home, greatly assisted by some really strong coverage in the media – both local and national. I would like to thank the media and the public for their support during this campaign.”

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“However, there are still a number of individuals who think it is funny or cool to waste our valuable resources in this way, so we will continue to run this campaign to bring that figure down still further.

“We will also continue to prosecute anyone found making a hoax call of this kind and will publicise their selfish and foolish actions.”

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A recording used in the campaign of a Boxing Day 999 call, where the caller wishes control room staff a Merry Christmas after asking if it was still Christmas Day, became a viral phenomenon with over 270,000 YouTube views.

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