Making hoax and malicious calls is a criminal offence. Such calls tie up emergency crews so they are not available for real, potentially life-threatening incidents.
The Fire and Rescue Service receives dozens of such calls every year, made from payphones, mobile phones and landlines. We also have issues with people deliberately smashing break-glass alarm points.
Malicious callers are not only an enormous drain on resources; their thoughtless behaviour endangers the lives and safety of the public.
All calls to our Control room are recorded and can be instantly traced back to the caller. This doesn’t just apply to landlines; even calls from payphones and mobiles are taped and can be traced. The 141 function or equivalent does not block the number when you call 999.
The consequences of making hoax or malicious calls
- All hoax and malicious calls are passed to the Police as crimes. Tapes of the call, details of the incident and any witness statements will be provided as part of that criminal investigation.
- Any perpetrator can be prosecuted for making such calls, and can face a hefty fine and/or up to six months in prison if convicted.
- The Fire and Rescue Service has an agreement with the major phone companies that enables the disconnection of mobile phones and landlines if they have been used to commit hoax or malicious calls. If this happens, the owner of the phone will be blacklisted by all major networks and phone companies.
- In persistent problem areas, specialist or existing CCTV can be used to assist in identifying an offender.
How you can help
If you know of someone who makes hoax or malicious calls, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.