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East Lancashire emergency services called out to 24k hoax calls
4:29pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
FIREFIGHTERS and police were called out to almost 24,000 hoax calls in the last three years, latest figures reveal.
However, Lancashire Police confirmed arrests had only been made in 39 of the cases they had been called to.
The emergency services warned that although the overall number was falling, lives were still being put at risk.
In 2010, Lancashire Police received 7,211 false calls, 4,129 of which were responded to by officers.
The number fell to 7,204 in 2011 and last year, 6,129 such calls were received.
Of those, 12 were given a fine, five were charged and bailed and four received a caution.
Incidents officers went out on included a ‘heavily intoxicated’ man who claimed he had been hit by a car, but had no apparent injuries, and a call from a child, who hung up when the operator answered.
When workers tried to call the number back, there was no answer and the call was identified to have come from a phone box.
The fall in the number of hoax calls has also be noted by Lancashire Fire and Rescue, which recorded 1,341 in 2010, 1,082 in 2011 and 899 in 2012.
Up to July 3 this year, the service had received 432 malicious calls.
The service said it did not have a record of the number of prosecutions.
A police spokesman said not all cases led to prosecution as they could be difficult to prove or trace.
He said: “The 999 service exists for people to report emergency incidents to the emergency services, for the police it could be a crime in progress or where life or serious injury is at risk.
“People using this service for any other reason is simply unacceptable. While our operators are dealing with these types of calls, people in genuine need of emergency help may be trying to get through.
“At best, these irresponsible calls are wasting valuable time but at the very worst, they could cost lives.
Chief fire officer for Lancashire, Peter Holland, said: “Fire engines and crews cannot be in two places at once and hoax calls can, and have, cost lives.”
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