Hoax and malicious calls are a criminal offence. They also tie up emergency crews so they are not available for real, potentially life threatening emergencies. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service receive hundreds of malicious and hoax calls a year. These calls originate from telephone kiosks, mobile phones, landlines and malicious breaking of break glass points.
It could be the difference between life and death.
Malicious callers are not only an enormous drain on resources, costing the tax payers around £240,000 a year. Their thoughtless behaviour endangers the lives and safety of the public. Every mobilisation the fire service make can be a risk and causes environmental pollution. Firefighters respond to emergency calls, if they arrive at an address and find out that it's a hoax, it may delay them in attending a serious emergency incident, where they may be needed to rescue in real danger. It could be the difference between life and death. Remember it could be you, your friends or family that need our assistance.
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 public phone boxes and mobile phones are taped and can be traced. Even the 141 or the equivalent cannot be used to hide the number when dialling 999.
The fire and rescue service take hoax and malicious calls very seriously and will do everything possible to ensure a conviction is obtained or action is taken against the perpetrator. If convicted the perpetrator can, and have been, heavily prosecuted for making hoax calls with a fine of up to several thousands of pounds and/or up to six months in prison.Actions and consequences the fire and rescue service will take:
- If convicted the perpetrator can, and they have been, heavily prosecuted for making hoax calls with a fine of up to several thousands of pounds and/or up to six months in prison.
- Identification of the call location using the fire and rescue service mapping system is used. If a perceived hoax/malicious call occurs, the Police will be informed immediately.
- Disconnection/deactivation of a landline or mobile phone. The fire and rescue service have 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.
- The owner of the phone will be blacklisted by all the major networks and phone companies.
- All hoax and malicious calls are passed to the Police as crimes. Tapes of the call and the voice, details of the incident and all available assistance are given to the Police to assist with their investigations.
- In persistent problem areas, specialist or existing CCTV might be used to assist identification of the offender.
Of course the added consequences of a hoax/malicious call, if someone dies due to an incident when we are attending a hoax call are unfathomable and serious.
You could save a life
If you know of any malicious callers you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
You could save a life, save tax payers money and our resources would be available for real fire and rescues.