Lincolnshire Police are asking trivial and hoax callers to stop and think of the lives they are potentially putting in danger when they dial 999.
Despite police appeals, people in the city still continue to make prank or small matter calls to the emergency service, such as travel directions and phone number requests, or particularly malicious hoax calls.
One example of misuse was recent, when the force received 10 prank calls from one mobile number. The pranks ranged from hanging up on the operator to verbal abuse. People also call 999 when they run out of credit.
Police in the county receive 80,000 genuine emergency calls each year. This means that when an individual decides to prank the police, they are putting a high volume of genuine callers at risk.
Chief Inspector Simon Craft, Head of the Force Communications and Control Centre says, “Every false or inappropriate call to Lincolnshire Police takes up time we badly need and stops someone who really needs urgent help from getting through to us.
“Deliberate hoaxers can and will be traced, as the number calling in is displayed and we will trace it back. In some circumstances we can prosecute individuals or arrange for telephone numbers to be disconnected by the phone company.”
When to call 999
You should only call 999 to get hold of the Police when a life is at risk or someone is being physically threatened, there is a crime in progress or offenders are still nearby and if there is a serious road traffic collision (injured people or danger).
To contact police in Lincoln for anything else that may not require immediate police presence, if at all, you are advised to call 0300 111 0300.
Chief Inspector Craft added: “People who misuse the 999 number should be aware of the implications of this and realise that they could be putting lives at risk.
“Phoning 999 for routine matters will not result in a quicker or improved service for the caller, as they will be asked to ring back on the non-emergency number.
“People who are thoughtless or malicious in using the 999 number should realise that one day they may need the police in a genuine emergency, and they would not want their response to be hampered by someone misusing the system”.