Whats your emergency

2012-04-05 00:00

FOR emergency call centres, the school holidays are a nightmare due to the influx in prank calls.

“Children are the biggest culprits in making prank calls,” said police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane in regard to the 10111 call centres. “Call volumes increase during school holidays and after school.”

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the 2011 statistics have shown that the ER24 084 124 emergency contact centre answered in excess of 700 prank calls on the national emergency line during school and public holidays.

Callers reportedly swear at the call takers, flirt with them or make rude suggestions, give false information when reporting an incident to secure a quicker police response, play practical jokes, and use the centre as a phone directory.

Vermaak said: “In most countries prank calls to emergency services or emergency lines are considered a criminal offence.

“According to our voice recording and dispatch system some pranksters continue to phone the 084 124 emergency line up to 16 times per day.”

However, every single call needs to be treated as a real emergency and resources must be dispatched if an address is given.

Regardless, each time a call is identified as a prank call, the caller’s telephone number is sent for follow up and the call is investigated according to internal policies. Once the investigation proves that the caller is a prankster, the telephone number and other relevant information will be handed over to the South African Police Service where the prankster will possibly face serious charges. — Witness Reporter.

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