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Fall in the number of hoax calls attended by Havering firefighters

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2012

Firefighters have been called out to less hoax calls

Firefighters have been called out to less hoax calls

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The number of hoax calls attended by firefighters has fallen by 67 per cent since 2001, according to latest figures.

The figures, which have been released by the London Fire Brigade show that in 2001 fire crews attended 153 malicious 999 calls in the borough, but the number fell to 50 by last year.

Chris Drew, the Brigade’s Borough Commander for Havering said: “Hoax calls put lives at risk, are a waste of our firefighters valuable time and a drain on the Brigade’s resources. Every time our crews are sent out to investigate a prank call they are unavailable to attend genuine, potentially life threatening emergencies in the borough.”

Hoax calls put lives at risk – taking fire crews away from real fires and emergencies and the Brigade’s 999 operators away from answering genuine emergency calls.

A range of measures have been introduced to help cut hoax calls over the years.

These include training the Brigade’s 999 control officers to proactively challenge callers if they believe them to be making prank calls. This has had a significant impact in cutting needless fire engine attendances.

The Brigade has also worked with mobile phone operators and repeated hoax or abusive calls lead to around 100 mobile phones being cut off each year.

If a pattern of hoax calls is emerging the Brigade can also pass information on to the police.

Establishing young programmes in the community which provide opportunities for firefighters to meet young people and explain the consequences of making hoax calls, has also helped to reduce hoax calls.

Chris said: “We have taken a number of measures to root out hoax calls and now attend far fewer than before. But we’re not complacent and will continue to work to drive down the number of calls like this that we receive in Havering. At a time when all public sector organisations are facing serious financial challenges attending hoax calls is not how Havering residents want their emergency services to spend their precious time and money.”

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