Teenager arrested after hoax 999 calls

This Is Wiltshire: Call handlers were hampered in trying to deal with an emergency Call handlers were hampered in trying to deal with an emergency

A TEENAGE girl has been arrested after calling 999 more than 30 times and abusing call handlers.

The 15-year-old was arrested on suspicion of misuse of the emergency communications network on Tuesday, June 10.

Wiltshire Police have issued a fresh warning to people of the consequences of making hoax 999 calls following the arrest.

During the course of the nuisance calls, a genuine emergency call was taken from a woman whose ex-partner was forcing his way into her home and she only had a few seconds to tell police her address.

A Facebook post shared on Wiltshire Police’s site said if the call handler had been delayed in answering this call, the consequences could have been tragic.

It said: “She only had around five seconds to speak to the call handler and tell us where she was before the call cut out.

“The consequences, should our call handler have been delayed in answering this call by just five seconds, could have resulted in police having no address to go to and possibly tragic results for the victim.

“Another regular annoyance for our call handlers is persons dialling 999 to refresh their mobile network signal and believing that if they hang up quickly then it won’t be routed to the emergency services. Wrong.

“BT will connect a dropped 999 call to police which will tie up our call handler with trying to call you back and running checks to try to locate you and make sure you are safe.

“Signal problem? Call your voicemail, not 999.”

Wilt-shire Police take on average 250 999 calls each day and only a handful of these relate to a genuine emergency.

Operational policing Super-intendent Gavin Williams said: “The time wasted on dealing with hoax calls can mean the difference between life and death for people genuinely trying to contact us.

“In general terms people should only dial 999 when they require the police on an urgent basis, where there is risk to life or property or where the offenders are still at or nearby the scene of a crime.

“If people misuse the system or make hoax 999 calls then they are preventing the police from responding to real life emergency calls, which will mean that we can’t assist those people who most need our help.

“We will always seek to apprehend those people who participate in hoax calls and bring them to justice.”

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