Videos: Hertfordshire Police crack down on hoax callers

IN a bid to stem the traditional rise at this time of year, Herts Constabulary is launching a summer campaign to cut hoax and inappropriate 999 calls. Last year from June to August there were 13,738 inappropriate calls to the force, 1,155 of which were ho

IN a bid to stem the traditional rise at this time of year, Herts Constabulary is launching a summer campaign to cut hoax and inappropriate 999 calls.

Last year from June to August there were 13,738 inappropriate calls to the force, 1,155 of which were hoax calls.

This is an average of 4,579 inappropriate calls a month compared to 3,826 a month in the period after, from September to March. It is also an average of 385 hoax calls compared to 338 in the period after.

Inappropriate and hoax calls peaked in August 2008, when there were 415 hoax calls and 4,637 inappropriate calls.


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While the number of inappropriate calls has been declining year on year, the Constabulary is keen to push the numbers down further with help from the media and the public. This will mean that operators and officers are better able to deal with genuine emergencies.

As part of the campaign the Constabulary has released recordings of calls made over the past three months, which includes calls typical of those received during the summer months.

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They include:

A hoax call made by a child claiming they had been assaulted by three girls. Another child then came on the line saying his friends had stolen his phone and it was a prank call. No resources were dispatched. The callers have not been traced.

An inappropriate call from a man asking if a phonebox being out of use justified making an emergency call to the police.

A hoax call made from a man claiming to be on a spaceship. He was not traced.

A hoax call by a man claiming he had been robbed because he had ordered a kebab and not got it.

A hoax call made by a man claiming to be from comparethemeerkat.com and wanting to sell insurance.

A hoax call from a woman claiming that two men had entered the post office with a gun. Thirteen officers rushed to the scene but the post office owners said everything was fine. The call was made from a payphone and the culprit has not been traced.

There is a maximum penalty for hoax call offences of 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.

Superintendent Rob Henry, who manages the Contact Management Centre, said: "The summer months are when we have traditionally seen a rise in inappropriate and hoax calls.

"We are asking for help from members of the public to drive these numbers down for good.

"In particular, we are asking them to think before ringing the 999 service - is their call about threat to life or property or a crime in progress? If not but it is still a police matter, I would strongly urge them to ring our non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222.

"We want to make sure we can best serve the people of Hertfordshire by giving our full attention to real crime and making the county a safe place to live.

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