Daily Express


- By Paul Jeeves

OVERSTRETC­HED emergency services are being subjected to a rise in hoax 999 calls – putting lives in danger and adding further pressure to the public purse.

Response times to 999 calls are spiralling and call handlers are dealing with 266 prank calls a day on average – a 13 per cent increase on previous figures.

Home security specialist­s SimpliSafe submitted Freedom of Informatio­n requests to learn which UK constabula­ries receive the most prank calls in a year. Between 2020 and 2021, England received

91,290. This rose to 102,930 between 2021 and 2022. Hertfordsh­ire was discovered to have the highest number of prank calls, with a total of 49,740 made between September 2020 and September 2022.

London’s year-on-year increase was the biggest, growing by 200 per cent in the consecutiv­e year.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire Police had a 52 per cent reduction in prank calls with numbers dropping from 4,968 to 2,389.

SimpliSafe’s UK general manager Jonathan Wall said: “The amount of hoax calls the police received across the UK is very worrying, especially when the emergency services are stretched so thin.”

He added the calls are a “waste of resources” and “misdirect help” from those who need it.

Last month, Sarah Coates, 48, from Leeds, was jailed for 12 weeks after calling West Yorkshire Police almost 40 times within just two hours.

Superinten­dent Mick Rutter said: “Callers like this can delay us in answering real emergencie­s.

“This was a persistent wasting of police time and we will take action where it is appropriat­e.”

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