Hoax calls to emergency services

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

We take an average of 900 emergency calls every day – going up considerably during busy periods such as bank holidays and New Year.

Whilst the vast majority of people call us with genuine emergencies, we still experience hoax calls coming through to our force control room. Throughout 2022, our staff who take emergency calls saw around 2,000 calls that were hoaxes.

We want to remind people that calling 999 for matters that are not an emergency, and abusive behaviour towards our call handlers, will not be tolerated.

On Monday 17th July 2023 a woman from Morecambe was arrested on suspicion of improper use of public communications network after continuous calls to 999 in a non-emergency, repeatedly swearing and showing abusive and threatening behaviour towards our call handlers.

She has since been charged with using the public communication network in an offensive manner, and is due to appear at Preston Magistrates on 28th December 2023.

Chief Superintendent Karen Edwards, Divisional Commander for West Division, said: “Our control room staff work incredibly hard, taking calls and helping protect our communities. We need our emergency phone lines available for those who genuinely and urgently require police assistance’.

“My message is clear - anyone thinking of wasting police time could find themselves at risk of criminal proceedings. We will be there to help those in genuine need of help, but if you are thinking of intentionally wasting police time then we will take appropriate action.”

If you need to call us in an emergency – where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life – ring 999.

You can find out what classes as an emergency, and when to call 999, here.

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