'The cost could be someone’s life' - police warning after spate of hoax 999 calls

Police fear that a sudden rise in hoax telephone calls could eventually cost someone’s life.

By Gavin Ledwith
Friday, 26 July, 2019, 16:10
Police have warned hoax callers that they can be traced.

Cleveland Police say a number of bogus messages were made by children on the force’s busiest day of the year so far.

Thursday, with temperatures approaching 30 degrees Celsius, saw more than 1,000 calls taken by their control room – around 10 per cent up on last year – with almost half made via 999.

Superintendent Emily Harrison, from the force control room, fears that the ultimate cost of dealing with hoax calls is that someone loses their life in a genuine emergency.

She said: “Yesterday was one of the busiest days we’ve had so far this year, and the hot weather has added to the high levels of demand that we have seen over the last few days. We have had increases in calls requiring a real and immediate response.

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“During our high period of demand yesterday, we received a number of hoax 999 calls which turned out to have been made by children.

“These calls can be traced and any children found to be making hoax calls will be visited and spoken to in front of their parents and warned of the dangers of making hoax 999 calls.

“If a hoax call prevents another emergency coming through to us, the cost could be someone’s life. It’s a very real risk and we would ask parents for their support in ensuring that their children aware of these dangers.”