December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Hoax 999 calls to the London Fire Brigade have dropped by 48 per cent in the last seven years as it releases a tape of some of the worst offenders.
In 2012/13 the brigade received 7,013 fake calls, and mobilised fire engines for nearly 2,000 of them at a cost to the taxpayers of more than half a million pounds.
But this is down on more than 13,000 such calls in 2006/7, including almost 3,500 incidents where fire engines were sent out needlessly.
A spokesman for the LFB said control officers, who are now trained to challenge suspicious calls, are dealing with fewer hoax calls than ever before.
In addition to this, fire engines are no longer mobilised to abandoned calls from phone boxes.
Brigade officials think the rise in children having their own mobile phones has influenced the significant drop in hoax calls over the past seven years.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Chandler said: “Hoax calls were easier when kids could just pop into a phone box, but now everyone has mobile phones and the numbers are traceable.
“It’s a little less tempting when you know that the people you’re hoaxing have your number.
“Repeat offenders can have their phones cut off entirely, and our control officers are specially trained to challenge suspicious callers to check that they’re genuine.
“It’s great that we’ve seen such an amazing drop over the last few years, but as the summer holidays draw to a close, it’s important that parents continue to teach their children that hoax calls are pointless and dangerous, and that we take them very seriously.”