during the fire dispute. Already seven people around the country have
been arrested and 114 people referred for disconnection since last
Tough measures including prompt disconnection and fast-track
prosecutions have been put into place to crack down on hoax callers.
The revised procedures cover both mobile telephones and domestic
lines and will be in force for the duration of the fire dispute.
Areas most disrupted by hoax callers over the last three days include
London (17% of regional calls), Northern Ireland (18% of regional
calls), Durham (14%of regional calls), South Wales (16% of regional
calls) and North Yorkshire (13% of regional calls).
Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth said:
'The government's message is clear - if you make a hoax call you run
the real risk of being disconnected and arrested. We are determined
to crack down on this highly irresponsible behaviour that puts
people's lives at risk.
'The emergency services during this sensitive period should be
allowed to go about their business unhindered by the perpetrators of
these dangerous and selfish calls.
'These tough measures are working, as hoax calls have fallen in
comparison to the last 48 hour strike.'
The measures to deter emergency service hoax callers have the full
backing of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Ambulance
Service Association and Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers
Association and were introduced to combat the significant number of
hoax calls during the previous 48-hour fire strike.
Hoax call figures are collated by the Police National Information
Co-ordination Centre (PNICC) from data collected from regional Joint
Operation Centres (JOC).
Figures for the same period last year are not available therefore no
comparison can be made.
Hoax calls are defined on a regional level and these figures could
include some 'false calls', defined as those calls made with good
intent that a fire response is needed, but there is no sign of fire
The figure given for London incorporates the Metropolitan police and
the City of London Police.
The data used is taken from the period 0001 hours 25 November 2002 to
2359 hours 27 November 2002.